However, regrettably, late last night, the U.S., Japan and Australia jointly issued a statement, further playing up the South China Sea issue and regional tension targeting China, the Chinese foreign minister said, adding that considering the damage this trilateral statement has done, China has to make a response.
U.S. Secretary of State Kerry says backs bilateral talks; Philippines says dispute does not involve United States.
At a meeting of the foreign ministers of 10 Southeast Asian nations on Sunday, even the Philippines was reluctant to have the grouping rebuke China, and in several forums said its dispute had nothing to do with the region, according to diplomats who attended the closed-door meetings.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague this month ruled that China's claim to most of the strategic waterway was inconsistent with global law.
Since its loss in the PCA ruling on the South Korea Sea, China has repeatedly stated that it does not plan to comply with the verdict, which it has called "waste paper". "But we knew that there was middle ground without compromising the rights of the Philippines and the award that was recognized by the arbitral tribunal".
China has been successful at dividing ASEAN, making side offers to enough members to avoid the kind of unified statement that would have made for choppy diplomatic waters, after an global court refuted China's broad territorial claims.
"What we want to do is urge people to not try to build up the tensions".
Center for Chinese Studies Foundation chairman Rene Pattiradjawane said China had invested too much for it to now take apart the fake islands, which it has built to boost its territorial claims across the vast waters.
"It seems like certain countries from outside the region have got all worked up, keeping the fever high", Wang told reporters.
"It's legally binding and it's obviously a decision of the court that is recognised under worldwide law and it has to be part of the calculation", he said.
Short said that the USA has involved itself in the dispute to enforce its notion of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and believes that as the world's only superpower, it is better equipped to counter China than ASEAN.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said a page had been turned after the "deeply flawed" ruling and it was time to lower the temperature in the dispute.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (second from the left) talks with Vivian Balakrishnan alongside Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh, at the opening of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, in Vientiane, Laos, July 25.
Yasay also said he wanted China to take a position so that dialogue could happen but did not say whether the Philippines would insist that the arbitration ruling be discussed.
Yasay, who spoke at Wednesday's briefing in Manila alongside Kerry, said the Philippines is ready to negotiate with China, and has named former President Fidel V. Ramos, a respected statesman in Asia, as special envoy to settle the sea dispute.