China, Philippines to hold consultations on South China Sea issue in May

Beijing [China], Mar. 29 (ANI): China and the Philippines will hold the first meeting of a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue in May.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Tuesday, "The two sides agreed during the 20th round of Sino-Philippine diplomatic consultation last January to establish a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue, with the two foreign ministries as the coordinators, to discuss issues of mutual concern and promote maritime cooperation and security. The Chinese side has invited competent officials of the Philippine foreign ministry to visit China in May for the first meeting of this mechanism."

She added that the Chinese side is willing to further strengthen communication and dialogue with the Philippine side to properly manage differences, enhance maritime cooperation and create a favorable atmosphere for practical cooperation between the two sides and the healthy and steady growth of Sino-Philippine relations.

She said that the Chinese side has also invited the Philippine coast guard to send a delegation to visit Beijing at an early date in order to deepen mutual trust and friendship between the two sides.

"Last February, China and the Philippines held the inaugural meeting of China-Philippines joint coast guard committee for maritime cooperation, during which the two sides agreed on a list of cooperation projects for 2017 through friendly consultation. The list includes high level visits, visits by vessels and ships, joint exercises and capacity building," the spokesperson added. (ANI)