Manila can learn from KL over sea row: China envoy

KUALA LUMPUR • The Philippines should take a leaf out of Malaysia's book by trying to resolve its territorial dispute with China over the South China Sea in an "amicable way", rather than resorting to confrontation, China's Ambassador to Malaysia has said.

In an opinion piece titled "The way of amicable consultations" that appeared in yesterday's edition of The Star newspaper, Dr Huang Huikang said that while the relationship between Malaysia and China was at its strongest in history, Philippines-China ties were experiencing severe difficulties.

This was despite the fact that China and the Philippines had established diplomatic ties in 1975, only one year after China and Malaysia did so. Malaysia also lays claim to part of the South China Sea.

Dr Huang said the reason behind the striking contrast in ties was the different ways the two claimants chose to deal with the disputes with China, with Malaysia adopting a more conciliatory approach.

"Compared with the breadth, depth and warmth of the friendly interaction between China and Malaysia, shouldn't the Philippines introspect itself?" he asked.

Making reference to the arbitration case filed by the Philippines with an international tribunal at The Hague, Dr Huang said it was "a knot that has impeded the improvement and development of China-Philippines relations", citing Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

"As to how to untie the knot, it depends on the Philippines," he wrote.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2016, with the headline 'Manila can learn from KL over sea row: China envoy'. Print Edition | Subscribe