Former Foreign Minister of the Philippines Albert del Rosario. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– Former Foreign Minister of the Philippines Albert del Rosario has called on Chinese President Xi Jinping to “pursue the wise path of moderation, reason and fairness” in the resolution of disputes in the East Sea.

“It is imperative that China play its proper role in adhering to the rule of law to preserve stability, security and peace in the world so that we may all continue to pursue our aspirations for development and progress," said Del Rosario in an open letter to Xi on November 20, hours before the Chinese leader arrives in Manila for a two-day state visit.

The former FM added that by doing so, China would have opportunity to stand as a champion of principle, fairness and inclusiveness in disputes and disagreements in the world.

He noted that it is more crucial now than ever that all members of the global community strive together to preserve a rules-based international order, saying he hopes that Beijing will pursue the wise path of moderation, reason and fairness with China taking into full account the legitimate national interest of its neighbours.

Xi’s visit to the Philippines is the first of a Chinese leader to the Southeast Asian country in 13 years. It is seen as a milestone in the two nations’ relations, which were recovered after Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016.

The bilateral ties plunged to its lowest when the Philippines sought arbitration to nullify China’s massive claim over most of the East Sea in 2013.

In December 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, the Netherlands invalidated the claim, ruling it is contrary to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and China does not have historic rights over waters in the East Sea and any legal basis to announce statements on historic rights over natural resources within the so-called nine-dash line.

However, China has ignored and belittled the ruling, saying the country would neither participate in nor accept it. –VNA