China, Philippines: Countries Mull Cooperation on Fishing, Maritime Research in South China Sea
What Happened: China and the Philippines are considering cooperating on fishing and maritime research in the South China Sea, Rappler reported Oct. 29. Officials from both sides reportedly discussed the issue during a recent meeting as part of a bilateral consultation mechanism.
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Why It Matters: Both countries are exploring new ways to expand their bilateral maritime cooperation beyond joint energy exploration in the South China Sea. Beijing is looking to engage with Manila directly to prevent members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from making collective calls to pressure China over regional disputes. Beijing is also attempting to bring the Philippines closer into its sphere of influence after Manila recently voiced an intention to collaborate with Russia on energy exploration in the area.
Background: China and the Philippines established a bilateral consultation mechanism in 2016, just after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte took office amid heightened tensions over arbitration issues in the South China Sea.
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