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China, Philippines agree to lower tensions in South China Sea, boost communications

2024-07-05 09:25:49       source:The Straits Times

July 3, 2024

MANILA/BEIJING - China and the Philippines have agreed to restore trust and build confidence in the South China Sea, two weeks after a skirmish near the disputed Second Thomas Shoal left a Filipino soldier injured and raised the risk of a serious conflict.

The agreement came after officials from both sides held “frank and constructive” talks on the South China Sea in Manila on July 2. The meeting was headed by Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong and his Philippine counterpart Theresa Lazaro.

Maritime tensions have run high in the past year, with both sides clashing repeatedly over the Philippines’ resupply missions to the Second Thomas Shoal, where an ageing warship called the BRP Sierra Madre has been grounded since 1999 to serve as Manila’s remote military outpost.

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