Philippines calls 4-country meeting to discuss territorial disputes in South China Sea

The Philippines says it will host a meeting next month with three other Southeast Asian countries on how to deal with conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea as well as with China which declares the entire area as its own.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Wednesday that there was no specific agenda yet for the Dec. 12 meeting in Manila with Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The vice-ministerial level meeting defies Beijing's approach to settle the territorial conflicts bilaterally and is a step outside the confines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes all four and also several countries close to China.

The 10-member bloc concluded its annual summit on Tuesday without reaching any consensus on the maritime disputes.