News Release

PBBM, Xi agree to establish ‘direct communication line’ on WPS concerns

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday affirmed to establish a “direct communication mechanism” to prevent possible miscommunication in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
The two leaders made this agreement in a joint statement released on the final day of President Marcos’ official state visit to Beijing, China.

This communication line would be opened between the Maritime and Ocean Affairs Office of the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.

President Marcos and President Xi concurred that “confidence-building measures would contribute to improving mutual trust,” and reaffirmed the importance of the Foreign Ministry and Consultations and the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the West Philippine Sea.

Both leaders also reaffirmed the importance of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in safeguarding peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea.

The two leaders recalled the Joint Statement on the 20th Anniversary of the DOC, adopted in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on November 11, 2022.

The DOC, signed by China and the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states in 2002, states that all parties would exercise self-restraint from conducting activities that complicate or heighten tension and affect peace in the region, including “refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features” in the South China Sea.

The two Asian leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the full and effective implementation of the DOC in its entirety and encouraged further progress towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) that is in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), “with a mutually agreed timeline.”

Both sides also acknowledged the “usefulness of practical cooperation” between their coast guards and noted the importance of convening the 4th Joint Coast Guard Committee, and agreed to convene it at an early date.

Manila and Beijing also agreed to convene the Annual Defense Security Talks “at a mutually convenient time.”

President Marcos and President Xi also reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the ASEAN Centrality in the evolving regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific region and support for ASEAN integration and community building. #