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BEIJING — The Philippines became America's second Pacific ally in as many days to hold ice-breaking talks with formerly frosty China. The meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing came a day after the first meeting between a Chinese and Japanese leader in two years. Like Japan, the Philippines is one of several countries embroiled in maritime territorial disputes with China.
President Benigno Aquino told NBC News the talks with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping were a "a new beginning." When asked if the meeting had been an ice-breaker, Aquino agreed and acknowledged the "warmth of hospitality" of his Chinese host. "Without compromising our principles on the maritime issues, we would like to develop areas of cooperation," he said, citing trade, investment and tourism as promising areas. "We would rather concentrate on activities that will improve the lives of our people." China's Xinhua news agency earlier reported that Xi urged Aquino to "constructively manage well the relevant issues," referring to the South China Sea disputes.
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