10/18/11 (AEIN) The Foreign Ministry of China has rejected Japan and the Philippines' calls for multilateral talks on the South China Sea. China maintained that it prefers a bilateral approach to the issue, state radio reported on Tuesday.
Beijing has also called upon other countries in the region to accept the China-Vietnam agreement to settle the issue bilaterally. The Philippines government has yet to accept the agreement and desires to bring several regional countries into talks with China.
The Philippine Star reported in late September that President Aquino visited Tokyo and called for a multilateral resolution of the ongoing dispute. The Philippine leader also suggested that China's claims in the sea would harm Chinese trade with other nations.
Several countries claim various waters and islands in the South China Sea, taking great interest in the profits to be made from drilling for oil and natural gas. Japan and the U.S., which have their own disputes with China, have backed claims made by the Philippines.