Ramos to stand as special envoy to China over maritime dispute

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Former President Fidel V. Ramos

Davao City (CNN Philippines) — Former President Fidel V. Ramos has accepted President Rodrigo Duterte's offer to stand as the country's special envoy to China in talks over a maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

Ramos made the decision after a 2-hour meeting with Duterte in Davao City on Saturday evening. They were joined by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, former Presidential Assistant for Mindanao Paul Dominguez, Press Secretary Martin Andanar, and Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

READ: PH wins maritime arbitration case vs. China

"Kaya natin 'to. [We can do this.] I have been cleared by my doctors at the Makati Medical Center and cleared by my wife," the former President told journalists.

He admitted that he suffered from three serious ailments, including one that impaired the flow of blood to the brain. He said he is also wearing a pacemaker.

Ramos stressed that the government should convene the National Security Council (NSC) before it starts talks with China, so that the Philippine’s position on the dispute can be clearly defined.

According to Dureza, the President — who heads the NSC — will convene the council on July 27. The NSC is the principal advisory body on the proper coordination and integration of plans and policies affecting national security.

On July 15, Duterte revealed that he had asked Ramos to go to Beijing for talks. At that time, Ramos cited his "increasing age" and other commitments as considerations before taking on the task.

WATCH: Duterte wants ex-President Ramos to start PH-China talks

This was just three days after the Arbitral Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague unanimously ruled in favor of the Philippines in a case against China’s claims to virtually all of the South China Sea.

The five-member panel of judges upheld Manila’s position that China’s “nine-dash line” maritime claim is excessive and encroached into the Philippines' 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Ramos served as the country’s President from 1992 to 1996. During the term of his predecessor, Cory Aquino, he was the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and later the Secretary of National Defense.

CNN Philippines’ Camille Abadicio, Anjo Alimario, and Davao-based journalist Ben Tesiorna contributed to this report.