MANILA, April 4 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines and China have re-established direct talks for the first time in six years to discuss security and trade issues, the Philippines' top diplomat said Tuesday.
Philippine Acting Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said the biggest fruit of President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to Beijing in October last year was the re-opening of the lines that pave the way for direct consultations between the two countries.
"I think one of the benefits that have arisen from the president's visit last October is that we have restored various mechanisms to talk to China, not only on trade but also on political and security issues," Manalo told a forum in Manila.
"The key here is how to talk, how to settle or how to manage tensions in a peaceful way," Manalo said.
He said bilateral talks are the key because dialogue and cooperation will foster peace and prosperity in the region.
The Philippines and China are in talks to establish a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea.
Manalo said that the mechanism will provide the Philippines and China a good forum to have frank exchanges on vital issues.
"We're discussing with China in the context of trying to improve our relationship," he said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said last week that China is willing to strengthen dialogue with the Philippines to properly manage and control divergences and advance maritime cooperation to create a favorable atmosphere for pragmatic cooperation as well as the sound and stable development of ties.