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Fifth Meeting of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea

2019/10/29

28 October 2019 - The People's Republic of China and The Republic of the Philippines convened the 5th meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM) on 28th October 2019 in Beijing, China. The Chinese delegation was led by Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui while the Philippine delegation was led by the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for Policy Enrique A. Manalo. The delegations from both sides were comprised of officials from the respective foreign ministries and relevant agencies.

Both sides recognized and are encouraged by the good momentum of the China-Philippines relations, and highlighted the importance of leveraging on the positive and fruitful meetings between President Xi Jinping and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Both sides agreed on the importance of the BCM as a platform for regular dialogue that can play a significant role in the enhanced and stable development of bilateral relations and peace and stability in the South China Sea, through which both sides discussed and considered ways and means to promote practical maritime cooperation, properly manage and address differences, and continuously enhance dialogue and mutual trust.

In a frank and friendly manner, both sides had exchanges on the general situation and issues of concern in the South China Sea and maritime issues between the Philippines and China. Both sides acknowledged the importance of addressing the differences in the South China Sea and reviewed progress on maritime cooperation in various fields. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to properly address disputes in a positive and constructive attitude, and their commitment to continue to explore and undertake practical maritime cooperation initiatives, and by so doing, promote mutual trust and confidence.

The Working Groups on Political Security, Fisheries Cooperation, and Marine Scientific Research and Marine Environmental Protection of the BCM were convened. Both sides had further frank discussions on issues of concern, and considered to undertake mutually agreed practical maritime cooperation initiatives, covering maritime search and rescue, maritime safety, and marine research or marine environment protection and fisheries cooperation in the South China Sea. Both sides also had constructive discussions on establishing possible mechanisms for exchanges of visits and communication.

The two sides recognized the importance of other complementary bilateral and multilateral platforms in maintaining regional peace and stability including ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the East Asia Summit. Both sides reiterated the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and were committed to the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

Both sides had a productive meeting and agreed to hold the 6th meeting of the BCM in the Philippines in the early first half of 2020, with the exact date and place to be determined and mutually agreed upon through diplomatic channels.

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