China PLA ready to ‘deepen mutual trust’ with PH counterpart

MANILA The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is ready to strengthen its mutual trust and understanding with its Filipino counterpart, Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said on Monday.

Zhao in a speech during the 92nd PLA anniversary celebration in Makati City said such move aims to jointly promote "further cooperation and friendship" between Beijing and Manila, at the same time, ensure regional peace and stability.

Under the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the Chinese PLA Navy has already conducted two goodwill visits to the Philippines.

Last January, a task force, consisting of two frigates and a replenishment ship docked in Manila for a four-day visit to the country.

Meanwhile, Zhao allayed fears that China seeks hegemony or spheres of influence in the region, emphasizing that the Asian power "remains committed to serving as a force for peace."

In the South China Sea, Zhao said China is committed to its "policy of peaceful settlement".

"Despite the differences we have, we are ready to discuss with claimants over the differences we have. We always believe by law is much better than confrontation," he said.

"And we all know these are very sensitive issues. For China, for the Philippines and for other claimant countries, it's not easy to settle. It cannot be settled overnight. So we should be patient," he added.

Pending this "peaceful settlement," Zhao asked parties concerned to put differences in a proper context. "We cannot let the 1 percent differences, the whole 99 percent of friendship and cooperation as hostage," he said.

"This is what I call the realistic and pragmatic approach. So it is in certain efforts of China, the Philippines and other countries in the region, the situation in the SCS has been stabilized in general." (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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