China, Vietnam agree to keep S. China Sea tensions in check

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A year ago the tribunal invalidated China's claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.

China and Vietnam will manage and properly control their maritime disputes, avoiding actions to complicate or widen them, so as to maintain peace in the South China Sea, the two nations said in a joint communique China released on Monday.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

The competing claims have made the sea, which is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits, one of Asia's potential military flash points.

China has protested the visit last month by the Philippine defense and military chiefs to Pag-asa Island, home to Filipino soldiers and fishermen for decades, but which is also claimed by Beijing.

Duterte visited China last October after bilateral relations had soured over the South China Sea under the previous Philippine administration of Benigno Aquino.

Mr. Duterte met separately with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang before leaving China, where he attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

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Duterte congratulated President Xi Jin Ping on the success of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

"Without much-needed transparency from the Duterte [administration] and China on the rate, conditionality, and repayment terms of $167 billion of new debt for the Philippines, the public should assume, to forestall a worst-case scenario, that the rate would be somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent", Corr said. Leaders from almost 30 nations are attending next week's forum in Beijing, which will showcase Xi's grand plan to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes by bankrolling rail, maritime and road projects across Asia, Europe and Africa.

The DOC, signed in 2002 by China and ASEAN countries, outlines the most important principles in the management of disputes on the South China Sea, and consultations for the COC were launched by the two sides in 2013. "We are not saying that we will buy from them or we will not buy from them", Lorenzana said.

"And I'm very happy that they are honest".

In April, Duterte said it would be "suicide" for the Philippines to engage in battle with China, adding the United States, a longtime Philippine ally, is the only country that can tell China to stop activities in the disputed waters.

"We must find ways and means to jointly develop the areas' hydrocarbons potential to help lessen our common dependence on distant petroleum sources in the Middle East", De Venecia added.

But the deal was terminated after its legality was questioned, while some officials claimed the Philippines was put at a disadvantage since most of the research site was within the country's exclusive economic zone.