Aquino and Xi hold one-on-one meeting on APEC sidelines


Posted at Nov 19 2015 11:24 AM

MANILA - Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Benigno Aquino held a meeting on Wednesday (November 18), on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting in Manila.

Tensions have simmered the past month between Manila and Beijing over disputes in the South China Sea.

A few weeks ago, an arbitration court in the Netherlands ruled that it was able to hear some claims filed by the Philippines against China over contested parts of the sea.

Last week, a senior Chinese diplomat said that he was not aware of any plan to discuss the disputes in APEC, and for its part, the Philippine government repeatedly insisted it would not raise the issue at the summit.

It was only last Tuesday (November 10) that Chinese officials confirmed Xi Jinping's attendance to the summit. This is the first time a Chinese president is in the Philippines, since Hu Jintao visited in 2005.

Analysts have said that Beijing might have withheld Xi's presence to quell possible confrontations over maritime issues.

The APEC gathers heads of state and representatives from 21 member nations, including U.S. President Barack Obama, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.