MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will host the 23rd Philippines-China Foreign Ministry Consultations (FMC) and the 7th Bilateral Consultations Mechanism (BCM) on the South China Sea on March 23 and 24.
The meetings are part of the implementation of the outcomes of the state visit of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to China last January 3 to 5.
“As reflected in the joint statement of the state visit, the two leaders concurred that confidence-building measures such as the FMC and BCM would contribute to improving mutual trust and confidence,” the DFA statement read.
“They also affirmed the importance of both mechanisms as venues for the Philippines and China to foster cooperation and greater understanding as well as ease tensions.”
The discussions under the two mechanisms will cover a broad number of issues, including economic, people-to-people, maritime, security, and regional matters.
The FMC reviews the overall relations and all aspects of cooperation while the BCM covers maritime issues of concern to either side, including developments in the West Philippine Sea, and areas of possible maritime cooperation and confidence-building.
Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations and ASEAN Affairs Ma. Theresa Lazaro of the DFA will lead the Philippine delegation.
Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs will lead the Chinese side.
Sun is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo during his visit to Manila.
The FMC and BCM aim to highlight the goodwill between the Philippines and China to dialogue and move forward on practical measures.
The last FMC was held in 2019 and the BCM in 2021. (PNA)