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MANILA, Philippines – Officials of the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs and and China Coast Guard are in the Philippines this week, from February 20 to 23, to discuss with their counterparts future activities including the establishment of a direct communication line between the coast guards of the two countries.
Commander Armand Balilo, Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson, said they will discuss in Subic, Zambales possible joint activities in the areas of search and rescue, marine pollution prevention, suppression of unlawful acts at sea, and counter-narcotics.
“An interim arrangement to establish the proposed Hotline Communication and Point of Contact between the two coast guards will also be undertaken,” Balilo said on Monday, February 20.
They will also discuss port visits of their ships, training, and human resource development assistance for the Philippine Coat Guard.
It is the second organizational meeting for the Joint Coast Guard Committee, which was created after the 2 countries signed in October a Memorandum of Understanding during President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to China.
The first meeting was held last December in Manila. (READ: China, Philippine coast guards meet despite sea row)
Duterte seeks warmer ties with China after years of frozen communication lines because of an internatonal arbitration case that the Aquino administration filed against Beijing. (READ: Aquino legacy: Defying China)
The Philippines succeeded in getting the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration to dismiss China’s sweeping claims over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), but China refused to acknowledge the ruling. (READ: Philippines win case vs China) – Rappler.com