MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Chinese and Philippine officials agree to talk on “maritime emergencies” in the South China Sea, including the disputed Second Thomas Shoal.
China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong and Philippines’ Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Theresa Lazaro engaged in a candid and thorough discussion on the current situation as they co-chaired the eighth meeting of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea in Shanghai, as per the official statement.
During the discussions, both parties reiterated that the South China Sea dispute does not define the entirety of their bilateral relations. Despite recent confrontations in disputed waters within the South China Sea, where accusations of provocation have been exchanged, the broader relationship between the two countries encompasses more than just this particular issue.
Beijing asserts sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea, encompassing portions of the exclusive economic zones of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
According to the statement, both officials share the belief that “sustaining communication and dialogue is crucial for upholding maritime peace and stability.”
Both parties have agreed to effectively address maritime conflicts and discrepancies through amicable consultations and appropriately manage maritime emergencies, as stated in the official announcement. Despite months of strained relations, both nations have reaffirmed their dedication to engaging in dialogue.
Manila and Beijing have a lengthy history of territorial disputes in the South China Sea, but tensions escalated due to recent incidents involving vessels from both nations, causing a sharp deterioration in relations.
Meanwhile, China summoned the Philippine ambassador on Tuesday and cautioned against provocative actions, advising the country to refrain from engaging in sensitive matters. This move came after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr extended congratulations to Taiwan’s president-elect, Lai Ching-te, following his election triumph on Saturday.
China insisted that the Philippines should strictly adhere to the one-China principle. In response, the Philippines reiterated its commitment to the one-China policy and affirmed its ongoing implementation, as stated in the Chinese foreign ministry’s announcement.
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