China brushes off calls for Philippines boycott after S.China Sea ruling
BEIJING, July 19 (Reuters) - A senior Chinese official on Tuesday brushed off calls for a boycott of the Philippines after an international arbitration court found for Manila in its dispute with Beijing over the South China Sea.
China angrily rejected the verdict last week by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, describing the case as illegal and farcical. It has repeatedly said it will not change its approach or its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.
Some Chinese have reacted by calling for boycotts on products from the Philippines and the United States, which many in China blame for pushing the case. So far, there has been only sporadic evidence of these calls being heeded.
Asked if China would take retaliatory trade measures against the Philippines because of the ruling, China's vice minister of commerce Gao Yan told reporters that trade relations with Manila were developing smoothly.
"In recent years, the development of China's trade relations with the Philippines overall has been smooth and stable. China is willing to develop mutually beneficial and diverse trade relations with the Philippines," she said.
"I should say that though some internet users have called for boycotts on products from the Philippines, in actuality this situation has not occurred."
Total two-way trade between China and the Philippines rose 5.7 percent in the first six months of the year to $22.3 billion, according to Chinese customs figures.
Calls for boycotts of countries deemed to have offended China are not uncommon.
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