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South China Sea

China touts 'good neighborliness' as Philippines tensions rise

Meeting between diplomats follows series of flare-ups in South China Sea

Theresa Lazaro, the Philippines' undersecretary for bilateral relations and ASEAN affairs, speaks while China's Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong listens during a meeting on the South China Sea in Manila on March 24.   © Reuters

MANILA -- China's vice foreign minister on Friday told his Philippine counterpart that sticking to "good neighborliness" is "the only right path" to developing bilateral ties as tensions escalate in the South China Sea.

Manila and Beijing are locked in a long-running quarrel over the vital waterway, where China lays sweeping claims. The maritime dispute was high on the agenda during talks on Friday between Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong and Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro.

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