BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhua) -- China and the Philippines have reached important consensus on bilateral ties, the South China Sea issue and regional cooperation and development during the 22nd diplomatic consultation between the two countries, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Friday.
Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a routine news briefing that this consultation, held on Tuesday in Manila, is the first diplomatic consultation after the relationship between the two countries has been upgraded to a relationship of comprehensive strategic cooperation.
The two sides agreed to adhere to the direction of good-neighborly friendship. They both believe that since China-Philippine relations saw a turnaround in 2016, the two sides have renewed their friendship, properly handled their differences and expanded cooperation, which not only promoted the common development of the two countries but also contributed to regional development and prosperity.
The two countries also stressed to continue to deepen cooperation on the Belt and Road and always be good neighbors, good friends and good partners.
The two sides agreed to adhere to the direction of maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. They believe that the current situation in the South China Sea is generally stable thanks to the joint efforts of China and the Philippines and other regional countries.
China and the Philippines agreed to hold the Fifth Meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) on the South China Sea issue as soon as possible to jointly control the maritime situation and push forward joint development. Both countries will continue to work together to promote the consultation on a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.
The two sides agreed to adhere to the direction of regional cooperation and development. China always supports ASEAN's central position in regional cooperation and backs the Philippines in fulfilling its responsibilities as a coordinating country for China-ASEAN relations.
The two sides stressed to hold this year's series meetings on East Asia Cooperation, seize the key points and directions of regional cooperation, synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and promote cooperation on media, smart cities and digital economy as well as to build a higher level of China-ASEAN strategic partnership to inject new impetus into East Asia cooperation, according to Hua.