By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

OPEN TO DIALOGUE. China Coast Guard personnel brandish bladed and pointed weapons on Filipino troops carrying out a humanitarian rotation and resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal on June 17, 2024. Chinese embassy in Manila on Thursday (June 27) said Beijing is committed to managing differences through a dialogue. (Photo courtesy of the AFP)

MANILA – Beijing is committed to managing differences in the South China Sea through dialogue, the Chinese Embassy in Manila said Thursday, days after tensions rose with Manila over the incident involving the Chinese Coast Guard last June 17.

The Chinese Embassy said Beijing stays “committed to properly managing differences” over the sealane “through dialogue and consultation with countries concerned”.

It said Beijing would work with ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea and advance the consultation on the Code of Conduct to “jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region”.

The statement came as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it was “working hard” to bring China back to the table to talk and resolve differences on South China Sea issues.

The Embassy’s comment was part of a broader statement in reaction to US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson’s recent remarks that “the chorus against threats to peace and stability in the South China Sea is growing louder and stronger each day”.

The US envoy’s statement displeased Beijing after it urged the state to “cease harassment of Philippine vessels lawfully operating in the Philippine exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and to halt its disruption to states’ sovereign rights to explore, utilize, conserve, and manage natural resources in their territories and EEZs”.

The incident on June 17 involved the Chinese Coast Guard obstructing the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ humanitarian rotation and resupply operations at the BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) in Ayungin Shoal, resulting in one Filipino soldier losing a finger.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, earlier, said a diplomatic protest was filed concerning the incident.

Meanwhile, he said the DFA is working to convene a dialogue with China in the hopes of creating some “confidence-building measures” after the skirmish.

The Philippines and China have an existing mechanism for dialogue on issues surrounding the South China Sea called the bilateral consultation mechanism. Manalo said Manila hopes to convene this by early July. (PNA)