PH, China officials to meet over South China Sea

The first bilateral consultation mechanism meeting. (Beijing Review image)

CHINESE and Filipino officials will discuss issues concerning the South China Sea in the second bilateral consultation mechanism (BCM) meeting of the two countries to be held in Manila Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary for Policy Enrique Manalo will lead the Philippine delegation while the Chinese delegation will be led by Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Monday.

The BCM on the South China Sea, held once every six months, was established based on the joint statement issued after President Duterte’s state visit to China in October 2017.

The purpose of the BCM, according to Roque, is to discuss issues of concern to either side and cooperation in the South China Sea, and identify mutually acceptable approaches towards addressing these issues.

“It is a matter of informing that public that a mechanism has been in existence, and in response to claims that we are not doing anything. We are doing what the government has deemed best to be done,” Roque said.

These ongoing talks demonstrated that the Philippines is not being soft with China, according to Roque. He confirmed that the government has protested not only the building of the artificial islands but also the alleged militarization of the islands.

“The Philippine government has consistently filed protests, and even during the term of President Duterte, we have filed protests,” Roque said. p: wjg