This bird eye view shows the coral reefs in China's Xisha Islands, South China Sea, June 1, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]
State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said on Friday that maintaining stability in the South China Sea is a shared responsibility of China and the Philippines, and called for closer communication and proper dispute management among countries within the region.
He made the remarks during a meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, according to a release from China's Ministry of National Defense.
Duterte said that the delegation led by Wei is the first high-level delegation to visit the Philippines since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shows that China attaches great importance to the bilateral relations.
Duterte stressed that maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea serves the common interests of all countries in the region. He said he hopes that all parties could resolve disputes and differences through friendly consultation based on respecting international laws so as to jointly realize lasting peace and stability in the region, according to the release.
Duterte congratulated China's victory over the pandemic under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and sincerely appreciated Chinese government and military for providing a large amount of assistance to the Philippines after the outbreak of the pandemic.
Wei said that the two countries have supported each other in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic, reflecting the friendly bilateral relationship. He said the Chinese military is ready to carry out more practical cooperation with the Philippines.
On Friday morning, Wei also talked with his Philippine counterpart Delfin Lorenzana and exchanged views on the issues including the international and regional situation, bilateral relations and the South China Sea.