Manila, Beijing discuss joint S. China Sea projects amid signs of easing tensions

Philippines Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano visited Beijing on Wednesday for talks on possible joint development projects in the South China Sea. Cayetano was scheduled to meet with his counterpart Wang Yi and with newly-appointed Vice President Wang Qishan, a close ally of President Xi Jinping, amid signs of an easing of tensions in the disputed waterway, AP said. Manila and Beijing have long tussled over islands and reefs in the South China Sea. Since taking office in 2013, Xi has taken a hard line on issues of Chinese sovereignty. Kicking off his second five-year term on Tuesday, Xi declared at the legislature that China would never cede “one inch” of its territory. Beijing rejected an international tribunal’s 2016 ruling invalidating much of its claim to virtually the entire South China Sea in a case brought by the Philippines.