China-Philippines start new South China Sea consultation mechanism
2017-05-19 19:00 GMT+81734km to Beijing
By CGTN's Zheng Yibing
Officials from China and the Philippines held their first meeting under the consultation mechanism for issues surrounding the South China Sea on Friday.
The gathering was held in the southwestern Chinese city of Guiyang in Guizhou Province. With a friendly handshake, China and the Philippines initiated their bilateral consultation mechanism on South China Sea-related issues.
"Last January, during the 20th China-Philippines bilateral diplomat consultation co-chaired by myself and under-secretary [Enrique A. Manalo], our two sides agreed to formally establish this bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea," said Liu Zhenmin, Chinese vice foreign minister.
"We also reached an agreement on the terms of reference for the mechanism. I'm very glad to see after several months of hard work and preparation, this mechanism is finally up and running in the picturesque Guiyang.”
Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana expressed confidence and a desire for candid talks.
"We are committed to peace and stability and security of the region, and we are moving forward to achieve these goals. Thus we are pleased to be exchange views on such an important matter and for this important region," he said.
China and the Philippines have been through difficulties on South China Sea issues in the past five years. But now both sides have returned to the right track of negotiation and consultation, the Chinese foreign ministry has said.
"Guided by the leaders of our two countries, China and the Philippines will continue to push forward our friendly cooperation, and through bilateral channels, we will exchange views on South China Sea issues, manage our maritime differences, and enhance maritime cooperation," said Liu.