The Philippines should remain committed to “good neighborliness” as it is “the only right path” to develop its bilateral ties with China, its vice foreign minister lectured his Philippine counterpart in a meeting Friday, March 24.

In his opening remarks at the 23rd Foreign Ministry Consultation, Chinese vice foreign minister Sun Weidong stressed that this stance has led to “advanced cooperation and mutual trust” between the two countries.

“[Philippines and China] need to stay committed to good neighborliness, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, enhance mutual understanding and trust. We believe that this is the only right path for us to develop bilateral relations,” he said.

“In the past years, through friendly dialogue and consultations, our two countries have generally managed and effectively dealt with our differences on maritime issues and we have also advanced our practical cooperation and our mutual trust,” he added.

For her part, Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro emphasized the government’s commitment to resolving the conflict diplomatically, or in a friendly manner.

“Both our countries’ leaders agreed that maritime issues should be addressed through diplomacy and dialogue, never through coercion and intimidation,” she said.

This is despite the continuing aggression of China in the disputed waters that resulted in numerous diplomatic protests lodged by the Philippine Government.