China set up an East China Sea air defense identification zone in 2013 (an ADIZ, after the North American equivalent) over the disputed chain, requiring advance notice for aircraft entering the area - a measure that has increased tensions in the region and prompted considerable protest, especially from the US and Japan.
"China has never taken a lead in.stirring up regional tension".
Meanwhile, China kicked off its week-long military drills in waters around Paracel Islands on Tuesday.
China routinely carries out exercises in the South China Sea, where its territorial claims overlap in parts with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
China claims sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The state-run China Daily newspaper said it would be "reasonable to interpret the planned drills as reflecting the country's preparedness for a long-term fight to safeguard its sovereignty".
The Philippines took its complaint to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2013 after a series of confrontations with China around the disputed Scarborough Shoal off its coast.
The Chinese naval drills run until July 11th, one day before an global arbitration court in The Hague is expected to rule on a 2013 complaint by the Philippines over who owns the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal.
"We know there are some disputes and differences between some countries, therefore we believe that such disputes can be settled though constructive dialogue", he said.
The Hague court is due to announce its ruling on July 12, but China insists that it has no jurisdiction in the matter, and will ignore the ruling.
Aquino had refused to hold direct talks with China on the issue, pointing to Beijing's insistence that its claims were indisputable and thus there was nothing to negotiate.
"Yes, there is a need for a special envoy to probably help us, assist us, maybe in reaching out on a back-channel basis in trying to resolve these disputes", Yasay said in an interview with ANC's Top Story on Monday.
The Aquino administration argued that China's claims to most of the South China Sea and its massive island-building program in the disputed waters violated global law.
WASHINGTON: - The Chinese government is seeking to downplay fears of conflict in the South China Sea.