PH, China release statement after ‘fruitful’ dialogue

Chinese Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin and Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago L. Sta. Romana spearheaded the First Meeting of China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM) was held in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China on 19 May 2017.

The nest dialogue will be held in the Philippines second of this year.

According to joint press statement the meeting was “fruitful and productive”.

“In addition to and without prejudice to other mechanisms, a bilateral consultation mechanism can be useful, which will meet regularly on current and other issues of concern to either side on the South China Sea. Both sides also agree to explore other areas of cooperation,” said in the joint statement.

“During the meeting, the Heads of Delegation initialed the TOR (Terms of Reference) which they agreed should be a platform for confidence-building measures and for promoting maritime cooperation and maritime security. The BCM will comprise equivalent officials from the respective foreign ministries and relevant maritime affairs agencies, and will meet alternately in China and the Philippines once every six months,” it added.

“They exchanged views on current and other issues of concern to either side, and agreed to further discuss mutually acceptable approaches to deal with them. They also held discussions on issues including the promotion of next-step practical maritime cooperation and the possible establishment of relevant technical working groups,” said in the joint press release.