Philippines puts off South China Sea talks due to scheduling problems
MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines said on Friday it had put off four-way talks due next week over rival claims to the South China Sea but downplayed suggestions the postponement was because of pressure from Beijing.
The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam had been scheduled to meet on Wednesday but China, which wants disputes settled bilaterally, had not been invited.
But Foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters: "It will not happen this coming December 12... because of scheduling problems. But the parties are working on" coming up with a new date.
He said he was unaware of any pressure being applied by Beijing to scuttle the Manila meeting.