China called upon states bordering the South China Sea to jointly work with Beijing to guard against external interference and disruption, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday.
Some countries outside the region constantly stir up trouble and brandish forces in the South China Sea, which goes against efforts made by China, the Philippines and other regional states to maintain peace and promote mutually beneficial cooperation, Wang said at a news conference with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr in the southern Philippine city of Davao.
Regional countries should remain vigilant against such interference, and continue deepening solidarity and cooperation to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation, and not leave any opportunity for outside forces to exploit the situation, he said.
Wang said China will discuss with the Philippines joint exploration of oil and gas in region and shelve disputes to promote new breakthroughs in maritime cooperation.
China is willing to work with the Philippines and other countries surrounding the South China Sea to advance pragmatic cooperation in environmental protection, scientific research, fishing as well as search and rescue, he said.
He called on both countries to establish and improve institutions for maritime communication, saying the Chinese and Philippine coast guards have set up hotlines, and are discussing the launch of a maritime and air liaison mechanism.
Such a mechanism will effectively prevent misjudgment and unexpected incidents, he added.
China and the Philippines should speed up negotiations of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, Wang said, adding that China welcomes all constructive opinions within the framework.
Locsin said the Philippines will continue working with China in exploring new ways to strengthen maritime cooperation, implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and promoting consultations regarding the code.
Wang also met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday. Wang attended the opening ceremony of China's consulate general in Davao on Sunday.
Davao is a gateway to the rich resources and culture of Mindanao. It also accounts for around 40 percent of China's fruit imports from the Philippines, Xinhua reported.