This photo was taken during an aerial patrol by the AFP Western Command in the West Philippine Sea on Nov. 23, 2022. It shows 12 Chinese fishing vessels around the eastern part of Sabina Shoal. Similar ships were also discovered on the western part of the shoal. Chinese vessels were similarly spotted in the same area on Dec. 5. Maj. Cherryl Tindog, AFP Western Command/handout

MANILA (UPDATE)— The Philippines and China will sign an agreement to set up “direct communication” lines on issues connected to the West Philippine Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday. 


The deal aims to avoid “miscalculation and miscommunication” over the waterway and would be signed during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s state visit in China next week, DFA Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Nathaniel Imperial said. 


“Both sides have agreed to sign an agreement establishing direct communication between the foreign ministries of both countries at various levels,” said Imperial. 


“That is expected to be signed by Sec. Manalo and his counterpart State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during the visit,” he added. 


Marcos’ state visit is also expected to reaffirm the “cordial and neighborly relations” between the two countries and build on investment ties, Imperial said. 

The President, he said, wants a peaceful resolution in the West Philippine Sea and would push for the country’s sovereign rights in the disputed waters during his visit there.


Meanwhile, on the resumption of gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea, the DFA official said Marcos, Jr “may raise or continue his discussion with President Xi which began by the way during their initial meeting in Bangkok on oil and gas cooperation.” (Click here to read more…)