Updated 00:08 AM PHT Thu, January 12, 2017
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The country's arbitration victory in the South China Sea will not be on the table even as the Philippines hosts the Asean Summit this year.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said on Wednesday that to involve other countries and raise the issue during the event would be "counterproductive."
"We feel no special purpose or special benefit to raise this," Yasay said ahead of the formal launching of the Philippines' ASEAN 2017 chairmanship on January 15. "This is a matter that we will be raising with China at some future time on bilateral talks."
Instead, Yasay said, economic cooperation, cultural exchanges and regional stability would be the topics on the table.
As far as the issue of China's weapons on artificial islands, Yasay said this would be something that a code of conduct — which Asean countries and China had been drafting — would address.
Yasay said China's military equipment had already been put in place on artificial islands — and the only thing left to do would be to prevent any further escalation of the situation.
It can be recalled that President Rodrigo had said that he would only raise the issue of the arbitral ruling once minerals were being siphoned off disputed waters.
CNN Philippines' JC Gotinga contributed to this report.