MANILA, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- With the arrival of a U.S. congressional delegation in Manila, the Philippines tries to win U. S. support on its move to bring territorial disputes with China to international arbitration.
According to the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario briefed the U.S. delegation, headed by Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Congressman Ed Royce, details of the arbitration issue.
Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Cuisia, who was present at a meeting with a group of Philippine officials at the DFA, said Del Rosario explained to the U.S. lawmakers that Manila needed to go on a legal track because the country's efforts at diplomacy and moves to settle it through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), "have not yielded any results."
Philippine DFA Assistant Secretary Carlos Sorreta told media that the five-member U.S. delegation "expressed their full support" to Manila's efforts "to resolve the situation in a peaceful manner and in accordance to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea."
U.S. Congressman Royce said in a chance interview,"We always believe that it's in everyone's interest to resolve these issues through dialogue. We want to calm the tensions, we want this approached from the standpoint of diplomacy."
The delegation arrived in Manila on Monday and will stay in the Philippines through Wednesday.
Philippine government took the disputes with China on South China Sea to an Arbitral Tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on Jan. 22.
In response, China urged the Philippines to avoid taking any action that could complicate the South China Sea issue.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on the following day at a daily press briefing, "China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha islands and its adjacent waters. Our claim has abundant historical and legal grounds."
"The key and root of the dispute between China and the Philippines is the Philippines' illegal occupation of some islets and reefs of the Nansha Islands. China has always opposed the Philippines' illegal occupation," he added.
China has been consistently working toward resolving the disputes through negotiations and dialogue, to defend China- Philippines relations and safeguard regional peace and stability. This has shown China's utmost goodwill and sincerity", he said.
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