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Gov’t prefers bilateral over multilateral talks on WPS issue: Palace

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By Prince Golez

The government favors bilateral negotiations rather than multilateral negotiations in resolving the dispute over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) with China, Malacañang said.

“Sa ngayon bilateral muna. Kasi I rememeber si Presidente a year ago hindi sya masyadong hot sa multilateral. Kasi nga ang may problema dalawang bansa so mag bilateral muna kayo,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“Eh sa ngayon nga, wala namang nagri-resolve ‘di ba? Wala ngang gustong makialam eh. So siguro tayo munang dalawa ang mag-usap,” Panelo added.

He said if the bilateral talks with China to settle the WPS dispute fail, the Philippines may resort to multilateral negotiations with other claimant states.

But for now, Panelo stressed that bilateral mechanisms are the most effective, noting that conflicts cannot be resolved through force.

“You don’t resolve the conflict by going to war or armed hostilities; it will not solve anything. In fact, all the conflicts in the world when not resolved by means of negotiations end up in armed hostilities,” he said.

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