Foreign Affairs acting spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said the Philippines is upbeat about the prospects of the framework as there has been an “increasing level of trust and confidence” among ASEAN member countries and China.

“We are more hopeful now than we were maybe a year or two years ago that we would have significant progress and there’s a commitment from ASEAN and China to complete the framework, in fact, by middle of this year,” Bolivar said in a press briefing Wednesday in Malacañang.

“We hope that ASEAN and China will make more significant progress. There has been increasing level of trust and confidence among the parties. And we are very hopeful that we will complete the framework by 2017,” he added.

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