China, Philippines to hold talks on maritime issues in May

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-03-28 19:16

BEIJING -- China and the Philippines will hold the first meeting of a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue in May, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Tuesday.

"Currently, the two sides are maintaining friendly negotiations on the issue," Hua said at a regular press conference.

During the 20th diplomatic consultation between the two countries in January, China and the Philippines agreed to set up a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue to discuss issues of common concern and foster maritime cooperation and security.

China is willing to strengthen dialogue with the Philippines to properly manage and control divergences and advance maritime cooperation to create a favorable atmosphere for pragmatic cooperation as well as the sound and stable development of ties, said Hua.

She said China has invited the delegation of the Philippine Coast Guard(PCG) to visit China at an early date.

At the founding conference of the Joint Coast Guard Committee on Maritime Cooperation in February, the two sides drew up a list of cooperative programs in 2017, including high-level visits, vessel visits, maritime operations and related exercises and capacity building, said Hua.

She said the cooperation between the coast guards will deepen mutual trust and friendship between the two sides, so as to inject new vitality into the development of ties.

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