Philippine Coast Guard commandant Joel Garcia with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian aboard CCG Vessel 5204 at South Harbor, Port Area, Manila.
Philstar.com/Patricia Lourdes Viray
Philippines, China discuss possible joint maritime drill
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - January 14, 2020 - 10:47am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine and Chinese coast guards will be discussing the possibility of conducting joint exercises on maritime security.

The Philippine Coast Guard welcomed China Coast Guard Vessel 5204 on Tuesday as the latter undergoes a port call to the country.

The two coast guards will be holding a bilateral meeting to discuss issues, including hotlines of communication and search and rescue operation.

"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," PCG commandant Adm. Joel Garcia said in a statement.

The two parties will also exchange best practices on maritime affairs and law enforcement.

PCG personnel and their Chinese counterparts will also conduct cross-deck visits on their respective vessels, as well as joint search and rescue and firefighting exercises.

"CCG's port call in Manila is intended to enhance cooperation and understanding between Philippines and China, specifically in the conduct of patrol operations in a way that will not instigate provocation," the PCG said in a media release.

Garcia earlier justified the visit of the CCG to the country amid previous reports of harassment of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

He stressed that the PCG was also welcomed in China during its past visit to Beijing as part of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries.

This would be the third meeting between the PCG and the CCG — the previous ones in Subic and Beijing.

PHILIPPINES-CHINA TIES SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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