In a statement, the China Gang said it advocated “the resolution of conflicts through dialogue and the continuation of commitments to peace and stability in the region and the world.”
Manalo, on the other hand, talked about the commercial relations between the two countries and the developments achieved in the previous meetings on regional disputes, noting that there are still many issues to be resolved.
In addition, neither minister made mention of the Extended Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which was expanded to give US troops access to four new bases on Philippine soil.
This meeting at the level of foreign ministers between the two countries was recorded as the highest level of contact since Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s visit to Beijing in January to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
Since then, tensions between the two countries have continued to escalate following the Philippines’ allegations that Chinese ships used military lasers against Philippine coast guards.
South China Sea dispute
The South China Sea has been at the center of sovereignty disputes between the countries of the region since the Second World War, when the riparian countries gained their independence.
China claims sovereignty over 80 percent of the South China Sea with the map it first published in 1947, while Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia also claim rights in the region rich in underground resources, as well as the Philippines.
The USA, as well as the countries in the region, opposes China’s construction of bases on the disputed islands in the region and its presence with its military elements as well as civilian ship fleets.