PH and China agree to open and cordial dialogue to resolve issues
MANILA – The Philippine and Chinese governments recognized the importance of dialogue in easing tensions in the South China Sea when they resumed their Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) meeting on Friday.
In a statement on Saturday, the Foreign Office (DFA) said the two sides had had “friendly and frank exchanges” on the general situation and “specific issues of concern” in the disputed waters.
“There was mutual recognition of the importance of dialogue in easing tensions and understanding the position and intentions of each country in the region. Both sides recognized the importance of settling disputes in an atmosphere of openness. and cordiality to pave the way for cooperation and practical initiatives, ”he added. the statement read.
The country also reiterated its long-standing call for full respect and adherence to international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its “authoritative interpretation and application -” the 2016 final and binding arbitration in the South China Sea. Price”.
The virtual meeting took place a month after the Philippine government began to trigger protests against the Chinese presence in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as well as its annual fishing ban that encroaches on Philippine waters.
The two sides reaffirmed the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea and their commitment to the early conclusion of an effective and substantial code of conduct in the South China Sea.
Manila then underlined the importance of other complementary bilateral and multilateral platforms in the maintenance of regional peace and stability such as the ASIAN-China dialogue relations, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Summit. ‘East Asia.
The two countries also discussed common issues and possible areas of cooperation in the areas of fisheries and marine environment protection / marine scientific research.
At the same time, the country highlighted the progress made in settling the Gem-Ver alliance, involving a Philippine fishing boat and a Chinese boat.
The DFA has revealed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will take the initiative to seek fair compensation for victims during negotiations to be held in June 2021.
The incident happened near Recto Bank in the Philippine EEZ in June 2019, which resulted in the sinking of Gem-Ver, leaving its 22 Filipino crew members to wade through the water for several hours until that they are rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat.
DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said last year that his agency had already submitted a report to the DFA on the estimated PHP 12 million compensation claimed by the crew.
Established in 2016, BCM serves as a trust-building process for both sides to manage and address differences, promote practical maritime cooperation and environmental protection, and build mutual trust.
DFA Acting Under Secretary for Bilateral Relations and ASEAN Affairs Elizabeth Buensuceso and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao led their delegations.
The Philippine delegation included officials from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, National Security Council, Ministry of National Defense, Philippine Coast Guard, DOJ and other key agencies. (PNA)