The top U.S. diplomat reassured the Philippines of support in seeking a peaceful end to its dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called efforts for arbitration a step in the right direction, Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario said.
"We are deeply concerned about some of these tensions and would like to see it worked out through a process of arbitration," the Foreign Affairs department quoted Kerry as saying.
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The Philippines has brought the territorial row to the United Nations in January.
China has junked arbitration calls, insisting instead on bilateral talks.
Del Rosario assured the U.S. diplomat that the country is "committed to seeing this arbitration through."
"There should be no confusion or any doubts about our resolve," the Cabinet official says.
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Del Rosario and Kerry have also agreed to raise the issue during Association of Southeast Asian Nations and multilateral talks this year.
"I also welcomed Secretary Kerry's commitment to work with Brunei, the current ASEAN chair, on the issue of the West Philippine Sea," del Rosario said.
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