COMMITTED TO PEACE. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (right) and Chinese Defense Minister, Gen. Wei Fenghe (left), show a copy of the implementing guidelines for the implementation of a 130-million Chinese renminbi grant from China to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the form of equipment, especially for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Friday (Sept. 11, 2020). The two defense officials also committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. (Photo courtesy of DND Public Affairs Service)

MANILA – The Philippines and China have committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea (SCS).

This came after Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and his counterpart, Chinese Minister of National Defense, Gen. Wei Fenghe, had a meeting at DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Friday.

The two officials discussed a range of issues affecting the defense relations of both countries. Also discussed were the issues on the SCS and how to avoid misunderstanding, and to resolve differences amicably.

“Both agreed that peace and stability in the SCS should be maintained. Both also talked about the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the SCS,” the DND said in a statement.

Lorenzana also expressed hope that his meeting with Wei will foster collaboration between both countries’ defense establishments, and advance mutual trust and interests for future exchanges on matters of security and mutual concern.

After the bilateral meeting, both Lorenzana and Wei signed the implementing guidelines for the implementation of a 130-million renminbi grant that China is giving to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the form of equipment, especially for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

In May, the Chinese Defense Ministry donated medical supplies and personal protective equipment worth 2 million renminbi to the DND.

Both have expressed the desire to continue this form of dialogue in the future.

“Today marks the most recent visit of China’s Minister of National Defense to the Philippines following similar visits in 2002, 2007, 2011 and 2017,” Lorenzana said.

Both defense leaders also exchanged best practices in responding to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

They also agreed to continue working on revisiting the 2004 Philippines-China Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Defense Cooperation that will be more responsive to current situations. (PNA)