The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday welcomed its Chinese counterpart for a week-long port call, which aims to strengthen cooperation and understanding regarding maritime law enforcement of the two countries.
The China Coast Guard was led by its chief, Major General Wang Zhongcai. The arrival ceremony was held at Pier 15 in Port Area, Manila.
The PCG said the port call aims to enhance cooperation between the Philippines and China when it comes to patrol operations in a way that will not instigate provocation.
“This is the first time in history that the PCG and CCG formally sit down and talk to enhance relationship and establish smooth coordination in relation to maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, maritime safety, marine environmental protection, and maritime security in compliance to the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the PCG to develop strong diplomatic relations with CCG,” PCG chief Admiral Joel Garcia said.
During the visit, the two countries will discuss communication protocols, search and rescue (SAR), and the possibility of conducting joint exercises on maritime security.
The PCG and the CCG will also discuss matters about the best practices on maritime affairs and law enforcement.
Cross-deck visits, joint SAR and firefighting exercises, and friendship game are also included in the schedule.
A departure ceremony for the CCG is set on January 17.
Earlier, Garcia said the CCG’s visit to the Philippines was part of Beijing’s efforts to de-escalate tension in the West Philippine Sea.
Garcia had vowed to push for mechanisms that will protect safety of all fishermen in the resource-rich region during the discussions between the two Coast Guards. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News