Enrique A. Manalo, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Philippines — DFA.GOV.PH

 – The Philippines is working hard to bring China back to the table for talkto resolve differences in the South China Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said on Tuesday.

The two countries held a working group meeting last week in preparation for a potential Bilateral Consultation Mechanism meeting in July, Mr. Manalo told a senate inquiry on Tuesday.

“Whatever confidence-building measures we achieve, they will be not at the expense of promotion of our sovereignty, sovereign rights, as well as our rights and jurisdiction on the West Philippine Sea,” Mr. Manalo said.

The Philippines uses the West Philippine Sea name for the portion of South China Sea that it claims.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea with its so-called nine-dash line, which overlaps the exclusive economic zones of rival claimants Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

A 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling, which Beijing does not recognize, invalidated China‘s claim in the strategic waters. – Reuters