South China Sea dispute: Philippines rejects China's offer of bilateral talks

Philippine says it wants some assurance from Beijing that its fishermen will have access to Scarborough Shoal.

The Philippines has rejected a Chinese proposal to hold bilateral talks on the South China Sea dispute, after Beijing refused to accept an arbitration tribunal's ruling last week that struck down most of its claims.

"This is something not consistent with our Constitution and national interest," Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told TV network ABS-CBN on Tuesday.

Yasay also said he met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last week at the Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in Mongolia. He disclosed that Wang Yi said "if you will insist on the ruling and discussing it along those lines, then we might be headed for a confrontation".

China claims a vast part of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion worth of trade passes through annually. Apart from China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.

On July 12, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against Beijing rejecting its claims of economic rights across large areas of the South China Sea.

But China refused to accept the verdict and repeatedly said that it would not drop its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.

Yasay also said he believes there is room for some backdoor negotiations and hoped that China would rethink on its stance.

He added the Philippines wanted some assurance that its fishermen will continue to have access to the disputed Scarborough Shoal.

"The tribunal has really debunked in no unmistakable terms the position of China in so far as the nine-dash line is concerned," Yasay told CNN.

However, China's foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday night that the two ministers had an "informal contact" in Mongolia.

According to the statement, Wang said that if "the Philippines was willing to resume talks, manage divisions and improve relations, China would meet it halfway".