FRIENDLY TIES. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds talks with Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin via videolink, on July 14, 2020. Wang called on China and the Philippines to safeguard ‘hard-won’ friendly ties. (Xinhua/Liu Bin)

BEIJING – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday called on China and the Philippines to cherish the hard-won friendly situation, consolidate the political foundation for improvement of bilateral relations, and safeguard important achievements of cooperation between the two countries.

The remarks came when Wang, also State Councilor, held talks with his Philippine counterpart Teodoro Locsin Jr. via video link.

Wang said since taking office, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made an important political decision and reached important consensus with Chinese leaders on putting aside maritime differences, controlling situations through bilateral consultations, and enhancing dialogue and cooperation.

Wang said China is willing to continue working with the Philippines to launch a fast lane to facilitate people-to-people exchanges as soon as possible, and build "green corridors" for the flow of goods to contribute to the resumption of work and production.

Expounding China's principles on the South China Sea issues, Wang said with the joint efforts of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the situation in the South China Sea remains stable in general.

However, the United States, out of its geopolitical needs, keeps making waves and promoting militarization in the South China Sea, said Wang.

He added that the so-called statement recently made by the US blatantly violated its commitment of holding a neutral position on South China Sea disputes, and is intentionally sowing discord between China and Asean countries in an attempt to provoke conflicts and damage regional stability.

The US’ flip-flopping practice will only damage its own reputation, he said.

Wang said China will continue working with regional countries, including the Philippines, to resolve maritime issues through dialogue and consultations, uphold the principles of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and reach a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) as soon as possible.

Locsin voiced the Philippines' support of the joint construction of the Belt and Road.

Maritime disputes are not the whole of bilateral relations, Locsin said, adding that such disputes should not and will not undermine friendly relations between the two countries.

He said the Philippines is willing to work with China to resolve disputes in the South China Sea through friendly bilateral consultations, actively promote maritime cooperation, and jointly safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea. (Xinhua)