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THIRD MEETING OF THE CHINA-PHILIPPINES BILATERAL CONSULTATION MECHANISM ON THE SOUTH CHINA SEA(BCM)

2018/10/18

China and the Philippines convened the Third Meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM) on 18 October 2018 in Beijing, People's Republic of China. The Chinese delegation was led by Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou and the Philippine delegation was led by DFA Undersecretary for Policy Enrique A. Manalo. The Third Meeting of the BCM comprised equivalent officials from the respective foreign ministries and relevant agencies.

Both sides acknowledged the importance of the BCM as a venue for enhanced and regular dialogue that can play a significant role in the stable development of bilateral relations, through which both sides could address differences, prevent and properly manage incidents at sea and enhance maritime dialogue and cooperation.

In a candid and friendly manner, both sides exchanged views on current and other issues of concern and considered approaches to address these issues in a mutually beneficial way, with both sides reaffirming their commitment to cooperate and to continue to find ways forward to strengthen mutual trust and confidence. Both sides considered the meeting fruitful and productive.

Bearing in mind the Joint Statement of November 16, 2017, both sides reiterated that the contentious maritime issues are not the sum total of the China-Philippines relations, and agreed that the increasingly dynamic China-Philippines relations should serve the interests of the Filipino and Chinese peoples and contribute to peace, stability, and development in the region.

Believing that the proper management of disputes in the South China Sea is vital in safeguarding regional peace and stability, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea, freedom of international commerce and other peaceful uses of the sea, addressing territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned and the exercise of self-restraint, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The two sides also recognized the importance of other complementary multilateral platforms, including China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations, ASEAN Regional Forum, and East Asia Summit, in promoting peace and stability in the region. Both sides reiterated the commitment to the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety and to work closely with other ASEAN Member States towards early consensus on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

Both sides had a productive exchange of views on ways to enhance maritime cooperation in areas such as on recent developments in the South China Sea carrying political and security implications, maritime search and rescue, maritime safety, marine environmental protection/marine scientific research, and fisheries in relevant Working Group meetings under the framework of the BCM. Without prejudice to their respective positions on sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction, both sides also discussed possible cooperation on joint exploration and development of maritime oil and gas.

The Fourth Meeting of the BCM will be held in the Philippines in the first half of 2019, with the exact date and place to be determined and mutually agreed upon through diplomatic channels.

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