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    Beijing Welcomes Philippines' Ex-President as Special Envoy to China

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    Beijing sticks to an open policy concerning any bilateral contacts and welcomes Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos as a special envoy, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement on Wednesday.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — In July, President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte said his country would send Ramos a special envoy to China to discuss the conflict over territorial dispute in the South China Sea. On Monday, the former president arrived in Hong Kong.

    "According to our information, Mr. Ramos during his visit to Hong Kong will hold private conversations with his old Chinese friends. China sticks to an open policy concerning all forms of bilateral cooperation with the Philippines," the statement reads.

    Hua Chunying stressed that China and the Philippines are making joint efforts to improve bilateral relations, restore the dialogue and cooperation.

    Relations between China and the Philippines are going through a difficult period due to the South China Sea territorial disputes.

    A number of disputed islands, including the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands, are located in the South China Sea. Beijing’s territorial claims to the Spratly Islands, known as Nansha Islands in China, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves, run against those of the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

    On July 12, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China has no legal basis to lay claims to South China Sea resources and has violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines in the country's exclusive economic zone


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