With the China-Philippines ties being continuously strengthened, the South China Sea issue has become a very small part of their relations and should be peacefully solved by continuing dialogues and consultations, said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.
Hua made the remarks when responding to a question on Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin’s visit to the Philippines at a regular briefing.
Liu paid a visit to the Philippines from Tuesday to Wednesday, and during his visit the two sides did a frank and in-depth exchange of views on the South China Sea issue and reached broad consensus, according to Hua.
"Both sides agreed that, compared with the friendly China-Philippines ties which have been continuously strengthened, the South China Sea issue is just a small part of our relations and should be peacefully solved by continuing dialogues and consultations. However, before the relevant problems are solved, China and the Philippines should manage differences and promote maritime pragmatic cooperation in order to create a favorable atmosphere for developing bilateral relations in a healthy and stable manner,” said Hua.
Hua noted that China and the Philippines agreed to work together with the other countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea, to actively promote the consultation on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea with aims to complete the draft framework by the end of this year, and to try the best to complete the COC as early as possible on the basis of consultation.
"In addition, the two sides agreed to establish a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue, and carry out discussions and consultations on the shared concerns and promotion of maritime safety and cooperation," added Hua.