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China and the Philippines have had candid and deep exchanges on each other’s concerns over South China Sea issues and agreed to maintain restraint and improve communication mechanisms to manage disputes via friendly coordination and properly handle maritime emergencies, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a press release on Friday.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong and Undersecretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines Maria Theresa P. Lazaro co-chaired the 7th Meeting of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) on the South China Sea on Friday, which was the first time for the two countries to hold a face-to-face BCM meeting since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, Sun also co-chaired with Lazaro the 23rd China-Philippines Foreign Ministry Consultations in Manila.
The bilateral meeting on Friday also implemented the significant consensus reached by the top leaders of the two countries. Both sides offered a positive appraisal of bilateral relations and agreed to let the BCM further play its role and to promote pragmatic cooperation in all fields, including diplomacy, defense, coast guard, oil, fishery, maritime rescue and marine research.
In January, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. paid a state visit to China, when the two sides agreed to set up direct communication channels to handle tensions in the South China Sea.
China and the Philippines stressed the need to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, to promote negotiations on the South China Sea code of conduct and to jointly safeguard the stability and peace of the South China Sea, said the press release.
Representatives from the departments of diplomacy, defense, natural resources, environment, agriculture, energy and coast guard from both sides attended the meeting. The two countries have reached a consensus on a dozen issues, according to the release.
(Source: Global Times)