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Philippine-China Talks Begin—‘Start with Things We Agree On’

Aug. 7, 2016 (EIRNS)—The Rodrigo Duterte government in the Philippines announced today that former President Fidel Ramos will travel to Beijing on Monday to begin talks with China on the South China Sea on behalf of the government. While Secretary of State Kerry, who visited Manila last week, gave his full support to these bilateral talks, there is certainly pure rage in the White House and in Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters, as the entire plan for war on China launched by their "Pivot to Asia" is threatened with losing its primary ally.

Most importantly, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that Duterte had earlier discussed with Ramos certain "principles of wisdom about how to go about the conversation," calling on him to "start with things they agree on and not necessarily begin from an adversarial or instant position."

This is critical, since Obama has been making a last desperate effort to sabotage the talks by demanding that Duterte put the Arbitration decision in The Hague on the agenda as a precondition. China, of course, has denounced The Hague process as a fraud and an imperial stunt which they will neither recognize nor follow. Duterte, by announcing that the discussions will be based on finding agreement, has rejected Obama’s ploy.

Ramos has maintained close relations with Beijing since his Presidency in the 1990s. He was one of the founders of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), known as the Asian Davos, which holds an annual meeting in China bringing together world leaders to discuss economic and strategic issues. Ramos also served as its chairman at one time.

Xinhua, in announcing Ramos’s Monday visit, wrote today that

"The Chinese government said it stands ready to continue to resolve relevant disputes peacefully through negotiation and consultation with the states directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law."

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