Philippines says omission of arbitration ruling in ASEAN statement not victory for China

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MANILA The Philippines “vigorously pushed” for the inclusion of a arbitration ruling in an ASEAN statement but the grouping’s decision not to mention it was not a victory for China, Manila’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

The issuance of a joint communique by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, however, was a victory for the grouping, which the Philippines had never asked for support on its arbitration case, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said.

“I am just saying this to dispel the reports that have been said that China came out victorious in the ASEAN meeting because we precisely agreed to not mentioning the arbitral award,” Yasay told a news conference.

“The Arbitral award is a matter between China and the Philippines.”

(Reporting by Karen Lema and Martin Petty)