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Bilateral talks with China may start “within the year,” says Duterte

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by August 23, 2016 General

MANILA, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday that the bilateral talks between the Philippines and China may happen “within the year.”

Asked if there is already a date for the start of the talks, Duterte told reporters at the Malacanang presidential palace that, “Yes. Nearer than you think. Within the year, maybe.”

Duterte again said that he does not plan to bring the South China Sea dispute in the ASEAN summit in Vientiane, Laos next month, saying he would rather talk about the issue face to face with China.

Asked if he would bring up the issue in the bilateral meeting, Duterte said, “There is always a time for that. It’s impossible, when we are face to face and we come up with the hard facts.”

Meantime, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Duterte will start this ASEAN tour with Brunei from Sept. 4 to 5.

After Brunei, Andanar said he will fly to Laos for the ASEAN summit and related meetings from Sept. 6 to 8.

From Laos, he said Duterte will visit Indonesia from Sept. 8 to 9.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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