1ST JOINT MEETING OF COAST GUARDS

PH, China to cooperate on drug smuggling, sea security

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Officers of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and China Coast Guard (CCG) held the inaugural meeting of the Joint Coast Guard Committee (JCGC) in Subic Bay this week, agreeing to cooperate in a number of security areas, including combating drug trafficking and the establishment of a communications hotline, the PCG said.

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GOOD NEIGHBORS Encounters like this between a Chinese Coast Guard cutter and a Philippine supply boat may be a thing of the past, after the Philippine and Chinese Coast Guards pledged closer cooperation at a joint meeting this week in Subic Bay. AFP PHOTO

The meeting was held February 20 to 22, and was convened to implement the memorandum of understanding creating the JCGC between the China Coast Guard and Philippine Coast Guard, signed on October 20, 2016 during the state visit to China of President Rodrigo Duterte.

At the inaugural meeting, both sides stressed the importance of coast guard diplomacy, and agreed to establish a hotline between the PCG and CCG commands to facilitate communications on common concerns.

The two sides also agreed to cooperate in preventing and combating drug trafficking and other transnational crimes, search and rescue, environmental protection, and emergency response.

“Implementing guidelines from the original MOU and the terms of reference for working groups adopted earlier in the year were approved, paving the way for the development of information exchange and pragmatic empowerment activities unique for coast guard and enforcement agencies,” the PCG said.

To enhance exchange and cooperation between the two maritime law enforcement agencies, both sides agreed to conduct bilateral exchange activities in 2017, including high-level visits, maritime operations and related exercises, vessel visits and capacity building, the PCG added.

The CCG also invited PCG officials for a high-level visit to China later in 2017.

Representatives of the office of the Foreign Affairs Leading Groups of the CPC Central Committee, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs also participated in the meeting.

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