South China Sea issue not to affect China-Philippines cooperation: ministers

VIENTIANE, Aug. 5 -- The South China Sea issue does not determine all aspects of China-Philippines relations and will not affect bilateral cooperation in economic, trade and investment fields, ministers from the two countries agreed on Friday.

China and Philippines have the capability and wisdom to solve the issue on the existing basis through bilateral negotiation and the consultation mechanism between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng after meeting with his Philippine counterpart Ramon Lopez in the Lao capital.

The meeting has focused on measures to further recover and develop economic and trade relations between the two countries, Gao told media on the sidelines of the 48th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting that kicked off here Wednesday.

Gao said both Lopez and he agreed that the two countries should restart the China-Philippines joint economic and trade committee, an important mechanism on bilateral trade and economic cooperation, which has been stalled for five years.

The new Philippine administration has repeatedly expressed willingness to improve relations with China through bilateral channels and direct dialogues, which created favorable condition for bilateral cooperation in a number of areas, said the Chinese minister.

The two sides also had an in-depth and extensive exchange of views on bilateral cooperation on trade, two-way investment, infrastructure construction, tourism, trade facilitation and certain industries, he said.

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