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CHINA-PHILIPPINE CONSULTATION MEET, A STEP TOWARD PEACEFUL RESOLUTION

By: Bernie Ang

China’s Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xi Lian personally attended the recent China -Philippines Bilateral Consultation Meeting (BCM) which was aimed at helping ease the current tension in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.

China Vice Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong co-chaired the ninth meeting of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM) held in Manila on July 2, 2024, along with Undersecretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines Maria Theresa Lazaro.

In the said meeting, both sides had a candid and constructive exchange of views on the situation in the contested waters with particular focus on the handling of the situation at Ren’ai Jiao or the Ayungin Shoal.

Both sides expressed belief that maintaining peace and stability in the disputed waters serves the interests of both China and the Philippines.

They were also one in the opinion that peace and stablility are also the common goals of both countries in the region.

The two countries likewise agreed to continue maintaining dialogues and consultations through the BCM and other mechanisms to handle differences and disagreements.

During the said meeting, the two sides also had an exchange on improving the maritime communication mechanism, promoting the dialogue between the coast guard of the two countries and advancing cooperation in marine science and technology and environmental protection, among many other fields discussed.

The meeting was attended by representatives from competent authorities of diplomacy, national defense, natural resources, and the coast guard of China and the Philippines.

It is comforting to know that both parties concerned are now returning to the right track of properly handling disputes.

Indeed, there are diplomatic, moreso, fruitful ways to jointly manage the situation at the disputed terriroty.

There is no need for having to resort to harsh exchanges, be it in mere words or in actions.

The BCM is there to promote the easing and cooling down of the maritime situation as well as stabilize China-Philippines relations.

As I have stated over and over again, nothing will ever beat the effectiveness of diplomacy, done through dialogue and consultation such as what the BCM hopes to achieve.

I am certain this is also what the citizens of both countries want. The fact that Ambassador Huang lent his presence is an indication that China wants peace and to preserve his country’s relations with the Philippines.

After all, the sea dispute is but a part of the bigger picture when it comes to the totality of the various aspects of relations between the Philippines in China, spanning centuries.

The meet can well be considered a big step toward full resolution of the issue at hand.

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