President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III insisted that the West Philippine Sea dispute must be resolved; however, he spoke with a calm tone on the issue, saying that the matter is “not the sum total of our relationship” with China.
Aquino, who took part in a dialogue with business and political leaders during the Asean 100 Leadership Forum, said that bilateral relations between the two countries now revolve around less contentious matters. “We’re concentrating on issues where we see eye-to-eye,” he said.
The president, who spent most of his keynote address outlining his administration’s achievements and selling the Philippines as an investment destination, answered questions regarding measures against corruption, reducing red tape for investors and even the chances of him finding a first lady while in office (“I’ve been trying,” he said).
The subject shifted to Sino-Philippine relations through a Chinese delegate, who was corrected by the President when she referred to the territory as the South China Sea.
Aquino went on a five-day state visit to China earlier this month. During his arrival speech at the NAIA Terminal 2, he said, “Naging makabuluhan at matiwasay ang pagpapalitan natin ng pananaw sa kanila sa kung papaano maisusulong at mapagkakasunduan ang mga hindi pagkakaunawaan ng dalawang panig sa usaping ito.” (Our exchange of views on how to come to an agreement on disputed issues has been fruitful.)
The trip, which was described as a “success,” generated $ 1.28 billion in investment from the world’s second-largest economy.