China to stick with ‘friendly consultation’ amid ‘swarming’ in West Philippine Sea

By GMA Integrated News

China will continue to adhere to what it described as a “friendly consultation” with the Philippines, following confirmed reports that several Chinese vessels have been "swarming" areas in the West Philippine Sea.

According to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, the two parties must work together to improve relations moving forward.

“We stick to friendly consultation and handle differences and disputes properly,” he said in a report on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.

“The blueprint of China-Philippines relations has been painted and it’s time for us to take concrete actions to make it happen,” he added.

Huang’s remarks come after the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last week confirmed that Chinese vessels had swarmed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos said Chinese vessels have been spotted near the Sabina Shoal, within the Philippine’s exclusive economic zone, in the past few months with some 20 at any one time there.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. last month met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, which the executive said was more of a getting to know each other as they talked “a bit” about regional issues.

In the meeting, Xi was reported to have said that the two parties should stick to “friendly consultations” when dealing with issues involving the South China Sea.


The meeting between the two leaders was also attended by former president and House Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was previously described by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi as an “old and good friend of the Chinese people.”

Marcos is also set to hold a state visit to China from January 3 to 5 or 6, 2023 upon the invitation of Xi, according to the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS).

This comes nearly a decade after Philippines in 2013 challenged China over its claims on the West Philippine Sea, where Manila scored a victory and a landmark ruling by an international tribunal which invalidated Beijing’s claims.

China has refused to acknowledge the ruling, and was accused by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) just last June of illegal fishing and preventing local vessels from carrying out a resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA Integrated News