BEIJING China’s success at turning around relations with the Philippines under its new president Rodrigo Duterte show the “conspiracies” of certain countries to stir up trouble in the South China Sea have been defeated, China’s foreign minister said on Saturday.
In July, the Philippines won a case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague challenging China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, which infuriated China.
But Duterte has sought to turn foe to friend, visiting Beijing in October, largely putting aside the dispute.
Speaking at an academic forum, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Duterte’s visit signalled an important improvement in ties.
“This marks the return of the South China Sea issue to the correct track of resolution via dialogue and consultation, and means the conspiracies of relevant countries to use the South China Sea issue to disorder the region have been thoroughly broken,” he said.
Wang did not name any countries, but China has frequently blamed the United States and its allies in the region like Japan and Australia for interfering in the South China Sea.
Wang’s comments were carried on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Richard Pullin)