By Audrey Morallo
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine and Chinese delegations initialed the terms of reference (TOR) that would be a platform for confidence-building measures to promote maritime cooperation and security, a joint press release from a meeting meant to manage disputes in the South China Sea said on Friday.
The statement said that both sides had a frank, in-depth and friendly exchange of views on the issues related to the South China Sea as they both reiterated their commitment to cooperate and find ways to strengthen mutual trust and confidence.
The Philippine delegation to the bilateral consultation mechanism (BCM) held in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China on Friday was led by Ambassador Jose Santiago Sta. Romana while the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin was the head of the party from Beijing.
The two parties exchanged views on the importance of addressing South China Sea issues, incidents and disputes in “an appropriate manner,” the statement said.
This action was consistent with an October 2016 joint statement where both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, freedom of navigation in and over-flight over the South China Sea without resorting to violence, in accordance with the charter of the United Nations and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
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