MANILA - The Philippines should start thinking of ways on how to get the best out of its relationship with China, a former ambassador said Thursday.
Speaking to ANC, former ambassador Jose Apolinario Lozada Jr. said the Philippines should accept that, like the US and Russia, China is a superpower.
"We have to look at how we can get the best we can from China in consideration of its status as a superpower. We have to treat China in the same manner we treat the US, Russia," he said.
This is also the reason, he said, why the Philippines needs to be careful in the wording of the framework of the code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, which is set to be formally endorsed this weekend.
"We have to be very, very careful that the COC is not going to dwell into specific issues because we have to leave that to future meetings," he said.
A former ASEAN Regional Forum chief earlier said that a framework of the code of conduct should include commitment from stakeholders not to militarize the disputed area.
A draft of the joint communiqué on the code of conduct already shows that China's artificial islands and the Philippines arbitration victory will not be mentioned at all.
Lozada stressed that the joint communiqué showed to the media is just a draft and the final version of this depends on what the foreign ministers will discuss at the meeting in Manila this Sunday.
However, he is expecting that the joint statement will not be a strong one because the ASEAN countries want a COC on the South China Sea approved this time.
"I think it's a done deal," Lozada said of the COC.