Ramos arrives in Hong Kong, talks China ties

Associated Press) |

HONG KONG — Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos said Tuesday that he wants to focus on points of common interest with China such as tourism and commercial fishing as part of efforts to smooth relations with Beijing roiled by the South China Sea dispute.

Current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked the 88-year-old Ramos to act as his special envoy to pave the way for talks with Beijing after an international arbitration tribunal last month invalidated China’s expansive territorial claims in a case put forward by the Philippines.

Ramos spoke with reporters Tuesday in Hong Kong, where he said he plans to meet old friends with links to officials in Beijing as a prelude to further contacts.

“That’s why we’re standing by, and if there’s any development, the general consul will be the first one to know and she will inform us,” Ramos said.

China has denied Philippine fishermen access to traditional grounds lying within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile (370-kilometer) exclusive economic zone, an area Ramos implied the countries could share.

Discussing an agenda for talks, Ramos pointed to “some irritations that we would like to eliminate or at least remedy so that we can have common points of interest.” Read more…

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