Philippines & China agree to hold regular talks on Spratlys
Philippines and China agreed to hold regular discussions promoting trust and confidence between each other, which are also geared at finding a common ground in connection with the Spratlys issue.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin this morning received People’s Republic of China State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Gen. Liang Guanglie.
Both acknowledged the need to ensure peace at the South China Sea.
In a statement, Department of National Defense spokesman Eduardo Batac said “both ministers expressed hope that the implementing guidelines of the 2002 Declaration of Conduct would soon be finalized and agreed upon, that responsible behavior of all parties in the South China Sea issue would help keep the area stable while all parties work for the peaceful resolution…”
In 2002, China and the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed a non-binding code of conduct to restrain claimant-states from conducting military activities and other provocative actions that could raise tension in the area.
The two sides are also holding talks on a set of guidelines to implement an informal code of conduct in the South China Sea, a step towards a formal and legal agreement in the disputed territories.
China and the Philippines are among six states laying claim on Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, a territory believed to be sitting in rich deposits of oil, gas and minerals. Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan are the other claimant states.
“Both ministers recognized that unilateral actions which could cause alarm should be avoided,” Batac said.
Both nations had a near encounter in the West Palawan area early this year. Chinese fishermen were arrested last March with their catch of fish and sea turtles.
“It is also useful to continuously build confidence and cultivate trust between their respective defense ministers and ministeries and their armed forces,” Batac added.
Liang heads a China delegation, which is on a 3-country visit to Southeast Asia.
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