China today said it was expecting an early visit by Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte to address differences over the disputed South China Sea.
According to media reports, Duterte is planning separate visits to China and Japan next month, which will be his first trips outside Southeast Asia since assuming office on June 30.
In response to a question if the China-Philippine disputes on South China Sea will affect the visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told apress briefing here that as long as the two sides have the will to settle their disputes through consultation, there are no difficulties that cannot be overcome.
Tension between China and the Philippines has risen in recent years over the South China Sea issue, especially since the former Philippine government initiated a case against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2013.
An arbitral tribunal set up at Manila's request quashed China's claims of historical rights over almost all of the South China Sea.
China has reiterated that it will not accept any proposition or action based on the decision by the tribunal in July.
Lu said countries in the region have agreed to adhere to a dual-track approach on the South China Sea issue, with disputes to be resolved peacefully through direct negotiations between parties concerned, and to work together to maintain peace and stability.
"We hope countries outside the region will respect the consensus reached by China and countries surrounding the South China Sea," Lu said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)