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Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 15:08

Duterte envoy keen on common interests with China

By Agencies

Duterte envoy keen on common interests with China
Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos listens to a question during a press briefing at the Philippines consular office in China's Hong Kong S pecial Adminstrative Region Aug 9, 2016. (AP Photo / Ng Han Guan)
HONG KONG — Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos said Tuesday that he wants to focus on points of common interest with China such as tourism and commercial fishing as part of efforts to smooth relations with Beijing roiled by the South China Sea dispute.

Current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked the 88-year-old Ramos to act as his special envoy to pave the way for talks with Beijing.

Ramos spoke with reporters Tuesday in Hong Kong, where he said he plans to meet old friends with links to officials in Beijing as a prelude to further contacts.

"That's why we're standing by, and if there's any development, the general consul will be the first one to know and she will inform us," Ramos said.

Discussing an agenda for talks, Ramos pointed to "some irritations that we would like to eliminate or at least remedy so that we can have common points of interest."

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