A Chinese Coast Guard “goodwill ship” will pay a friendly visit to the Philippines starting today (Monday) upon the invitation of the Philippine Coast Guard for a five-day joint exercise.
This will be the first time that a Chinese Coast Guard ship will be visiting the country, and this despite an ongoing maritime dispute with Beijing over some parts of the country’s exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.
China Coast Guard Vessel 5204 will conduct various activities with PCG personnel, including cross deck visit, search and rescue and fire-fighting exercises as well as friendly sports.
“It is the first time a China Coast Guard vessel pays such visit to the Philippines. We believe that the visit will be a very good opportunity for both sides to demonstrate goodwill, deepen mutual understanding and trust as well as enhance friendship and cooperation,” Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said.
“I believe that 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,” Huang added.
The commandant of the Chinese Coast Guard, Gen. Wang Zhongcai, will lead the delegation that will also attend the Third Meeting of the Joint Coast Guard Committee (JCGC) between China and the Philippines from Jan. 14 to 16.
The JCGC was established in 2017 following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the PCG and its Chinese counterpart during the bilateral meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
In the past three years, the CCG and PCG have maintained close contact and frequent high level exchanges. A hotline between the two sides has also been established to facilitate the communication in agreed areas.
The two Coast Guards have also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of combating transnational crime, maritime search and rescue, fishery law enforcement, environmental protection, and emergency response.
“We are fully confident that the high level visit and the third meeting will further enhance our mutual understanding and inject new impetus into the healthy and steady development of the China-Philippines relations, and contribute to the regional peace and stability,” Huang said.