DFA chief meets with Chinese counterpart for bilateral talks

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

(Reuters) — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi kicked off a working visit to the Philippines on Tuesday (November 10) in a meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario.

Wang was welcomed at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila and signed a guestbook before proceeding to the bilateral meeting.

The two officials were expected to discuss a range of issues, including ways to improve Beijing's relations with Manila, China's Foreign Ministry said.

Part of the discussion will also touch on Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the Philippines for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila on November 17 to 19 amid tensions in the South China Sea.

Related: Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend 2015 APEC summit

APEC's members include the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Canada, and together account for 57 percent of global production and 46.5 percent of world trade.

After the meeting, Wang is expected to make a courtesy call to President Benigno Aquino III at the Presidential Palace.

Wang's visit came a few weeks after a ruling by an arbitration court in the Netherlands said that it has jurisdiction to hear some territorial claims the Philippines filed against China over disputed parts of the South China Sea.

Related: Analyst: PH not out of the woods in arbitration case

China has been particularly angered by a case lodged by the Philippines in 2013 and said it will neither recognize nor participate in the case.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in global trade passes every year. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.

Its land reclamation work in the sea has raised concern in the region about its intentions, and last week a U.S. warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of one of Beijing's man-made islands in the contested Spratly archipelago.