Chinese Coast Guard’s visit to push through on Monday

Published January 11, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Betheena Kae Unite

Amid criticisms hounding the five-day visit of the China Coast Guard (CCG) into the Philippines, officials from both countries reiterated that the maritime exercises set to start on Monday is a display of goodwill and cooperation between the two coast guard forces.

PCG Commandant Vice Admiral Joel Garcia (DOTr / MANILA BULLETIN)
PCG Commandant Admiral Joel Garcia

Days before the arrival of the CCG in Manila, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian met with Admiral Joel Garcia, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commandant, at the PCG headquarters Friday to discuss the upcoming first-ever maritime exercises of the CCG and PCG slated on January 13 to 17.

Both sides exchanged views on the visit of the CCG Vessel 5204 to the country, which will also mark the third meeting of the Joint Coast Guard Committee (JCGC) between China and the Philippines, and agreed to enhance pragmatic cooperation in various fields of the Coast Guard.

Ambassador Huang said in a statement that cooperation between CCG and PCG have made positive progress over the past three years. The two sides have established a hotline mechanism, and the areas of cooperation have gradually expanded.

Garcia, on the other hand, stated the same during a press briefing Friday, saying that while the issue between the two countries on the West Philippine Sea may not be discussed, they will push for the crafting of a mechanism for the welfare of the fishermen in a bid to avoid a repeat of the Gem-Ver incident.

The PCG is also looking to improve the line of communication between the two Coast Guard forces when it comes to maritime patrol.

The visit and meeting will be a good opportunity for both sides to demonstrate goodwill, deepen mutual understanding and trust as well as enhance friendship and cooperation, Huang said.

The ambassador also believes the visit and meeting will inject new impetus into the healthy and steady development of China-Philippine relations, and contribute to the regional peace and stability.

Garcia stated that PCG warmly welcomed the first visit of CCG vessel to the Philippines and would like to take the opportunity of the third meeting“to deepen practical cooperation between the two parties in the fields of transnational crime, maritime search and rescue, environmental protection, and emergency response.”

“The Philippines will continue to work with China to actively promote ‘Coast Guard Diplomacy’ in an effort to enhance mutual trust and promote friendship through exchanges and cooperation,” Garcia said.