China, Philippines to hold talks in Manila-A A +A
Thursday, October 18, 2012
SENIOR officials of the Philippines and China will meet Friday in Manila to review existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and to discuss the current territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), a foreign affairs official said Thursday.
Raul Hernandez, Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman, said the officials are also set to discuss the charting of the two countries' future bilateral and diplomatic relations.
Hernandez also admitted that the territorial issues in the region will be threshed out during the 18th Foreign Ministry Consultations (FMC).
"The WPS is one of several topics to be discussed in the FMC. The FMC is a regular consultation meeting, discussions of which will cover all aspects of our bilateral relations as well as regional and multilateral issues of interests to both countries," he said.
The West Philippine Sea issue is a rising territorial dispute between the Philippines and China, as well as with other claimant-countries like Vietnam.
The Philippines and Vietnam have both accused China of acting aggressively in the region. Both countries have lodged several diplomatic protests against Beijing, particularly for establishing Sansha City that aims to administer the disputed areas of Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, Pratas Islands and the Macclesfield Bank.
China claims virtually the entire purportedly resource-rich West Philippine Sea while the Philippines and Vietnam claim part of the disputed region.
The department said "the FMC is a regular bilateral mechanism meant to be a venue for the two countries to discuss bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern."
The officials are also set to discuss the exploration and deepening of cooperation in various areas such as trade and investment, tourism, culture and education, defense and security, agriculture and fisheries, transportation and communication, and consular matters.
The Philippine panel will be headed by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio and Chinese panel will be led by Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying. (CVB/Sunnex)