Cool again: PH, China agree on ‘friendly consultation’

Cool again: PH, China agree on ‘friendly consultation’

/ 05:36 AM January 20, 2024

Huang Xilian

Huang Xilian FILE PHOTO

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said on Friday that Beijing and Manila have agreed to improve maritime communication and handle recurring tensions through “friendly consultation.”

In a statement referring to Wednesday’s Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) in Shanghai between the Philippines and China, Huang said the two nations had a “candid and in-depth” discussion regarding the South China Sea (SCS).


China claims much of that area, which also covers the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone or what the country calls the West Philippine Sea.


READ: China envoy summoned over ‘aggression’ in West Philippine Sea

Huang said “The two sides agreed to unswervingly deliver on the important common understandings reached between the two heads of state on maritime issues.”

He added that “peace and stability in the SCS” served the common interest of the two parties and the “common goal of the countries in the region.”

The Philippines and China also tackled the handling of maritime “emergencies,” particularly at Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal.

They agreed to “constantly promote practical maritime cooperation, so as to create favorable conditions for the sound and stable development of China-Philippines relations,” Huang said.


At Wednesday’s meeting, China also brought up Taiwan, whose assertion of sovereignty continually riles Beijing which regards the democratically governed island as a renegade province.

President Marcos on Monday night congratulated Taiwan’s President-elect Lai Ching-te, saying “We look forward to close collaboration, strengthening mutual interests, fostering peace and ensuring prosperity for our peoples in the years ahead.”


The greeting triggered a fierce response from China which warned the Philippines “not to play with fire.”

READ: Marcos greeting to new Taiwan leader irks China

The President’s message prompted the Department of Foreign Affairs to explain the Philippines continued to adhere to the One-China policy as laid down in the country’s Joint Communique of 1975 with China.

Huang on Friday reiterated Beijing’s assertion for Manila to “earnestly abide by the One-China principle and immediately stop its wrong words and deeds” on the matter.

Also on Friday, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said China should honor its commitments made in the BCM to “avoid escalation of tensions” in the South China Sea.


“I hope China will now know the meaning of commitment and sincerity, that whatever you promised and agreed upon on the conversation table should also be implemented on the ground,” Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG’s spokesperson on the West Philippine Sea, said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“On our part, we will never hesitate to continue exposing their aggression and provocative actions that heighten the tension in the West Philippine Sea if ever there will still be,” he said.

He was referring to a series of incidents last year showing China’s aggressiveness in Philippine waters despite Mr. Marcos’ visit to Beijing in January to help ease maritime tensions between the two countries.

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“Our continuous assertive transparency will prove to the world whether China truly honors their words or it remained disconnected with their actions,” Tarriela said. —WITH A REPORT FROM NESTOR CORRALES

TAGS: China, West Philippine Sea

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