World / Asia-Pacific

Next Philippine leader faces new South China Sea horizon

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-05-11 09:14

Next Philippine leader faces new South China Sea horizon

Rodrigo Duterte, seven-term mayor of Davao city, gestures during an interview in Manila, Philippines, in this file picture taken December 10, 2015. [Photo/Agencies] 

BEIJING - Winner of the Philippine presidential election will have a fresh chance to find a win-win solution to his country's issues with China in the South China Sea.

An unofficial, partial tally of votes at 2:00 am Tuesday indicated that the next president could be Davao city mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Among various challenges awaiting the new Philippine leader is finding a proper solution to South China Sea disputes. It is a chance to cast aside his predecessor's unilateral practices and bring the matter back to the negotiating table, which can only be good for Sino-Philippine relations in particular and regional peace and stability in general.

During his campaign, Duterte did not rule out talks with China.

By unilaterally initiating arbitration over the South China Sea, the Philippines has stirred up trouble and aggravated the situation. Filipinos may have come to realize that a die-hard confrontation will do no one any good.

Since 1949, China has solved boundary issues with 12 of its 14 land neighbors via consultation. China and Vietnam have delineated the maritime boundary in the Beibu Gulf through negotiations.

It is difficult to predict what attitude the new Philippine leader will take, and whether Philippine politicians will follow through with their promises, but the chance to set a course toward a positive and lasting solution should not be allowed to drift by.

The door for dialogue remains, as it always has been, open.

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