Talks of cooperation on SCS marine protection, oil, 'productive'

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

February 14, 2018, 9:04 am

MANILA -- The governments of the Philippines and China on Tuesday had a "productive" discussion on strengthening cooperation in areas of marine environmental protection, fisheries, marine scientific research (MSR), and on oil and gas.

This, "without prejudice to their respective positions on sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction," said a joint statement issued after the second meeting of the Philippines-China Bilateral Consultative Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM).

The Department of Foreign Affairs said aside from "intensive discussions" on mutually beneficial joint initiatives, there had been a consensus to form technical working groups on the said areas, including political security in the framework of the BCM.

"The technical working groups identified a number of possible cooperative initiatives," it said.

Under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) 2002 Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, claimants may undertake MSR and activities on marine environmental protection pending a comprehensive and durable settlement of the disputes.(PNA)