Philippines President Seeks 'Soft Landing' in South China Sea Dispute

© REUTERS / U.S. Navy/HandoutChinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, photographed by a USN surveillance aircraft in 2015.
Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, photographed by a USN surveillance aircraft in 2015. - Sputnik International
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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte seeks a "soft landing" conclusion of the South China Sea dispute with China, Duterte’s spokesman, Ernesto Abella, said Wednesday.

This combination image of two photographs taken on September 5, 2016 shows, at left, US President Barack Obama speaking during a press conference following the conclusion of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, and at right, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaking during a press conference in Davao City, the Philippines, prior to his departure for Laos to attend the ASEAN summit - Sputnik International
Changing Tides in South China Sea Trigger Manila's Spat With Washington
VIENTIANE (Sputnik) — A Filipino delegation headed by Duterte is taking part in a three-day summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which opened in the Laos capital of Vientiane on Tuesday.

"The president took a pause. He is looking for a 'soft landing' in relations with China. Relevant meetings with the Chinese side are being held," Abella told a briefing, without specifying whether such meetings were taking place on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit.

On July 12, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Beijing had no legal basis to claim historic rights to South China Sea resources and had violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines in the country's exclusive economic zone. The ruling came after Manila filed a case in January 2013 accusing Beijing of violating the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Beijing’s territorial claims to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves, run counter to those of the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

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