This bird eye view shows the coral reefs in China's Xisha Islands, South China Sea, June 1, 2011. The Xisha Islands lie in the middle of South China Sea, consisting of Xuande Islands and Yongle Islands. (Photo / Xinhua)
GUIYANG - China and the Philippines Friday confirmed the establishment of a biannual bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea.
The announcement was made in a joint press release issued after the first meeting of the China-Philippines bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea.
Under the bilateral consultation mechanism, officials from the respective foreign ministries and maritime affairs agencies will meet alternately in China and the Philippines once every six months.
Consensus on setting up the bilateral consultation mechanism was reached at the diplomatic consultations between the two foreign ministries this January, the release said.
During the just concluded first meeting, which was co-chaired by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Sta. Romana, both sides reiterated their commitment to cooperate and to find ways forward to strengthen mutual trust and confidence.
The two sides exchanged views on the importance of addressing concerns in the South China Sea and handling disputes there in an appropriate manner.
Noting the South China sea issue has "returned to the positive trajectory" in bilateral relations, Romana said in his opening remarks that the Philippines is confident in the resilience of ties with China.
Both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace and stability, freedom of navigation in and flight above the South China Sea, addressing their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned.
China-Philippines relations have seen "a beautiful turn around," Liu told the press Thursday, adding that China highly appreciates the positive, friendly and constructive attitude adopted by the Duterte government.