On 21 October 2016, Philippines and China issued a joint statement on the occasion of the official visit to China by Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. On the South China Sea issues, the joint statement states:
18. Both sides commit to enhance cooperation between their respective Coast Guards, to address maritime emergency incidents, as well as humanitarian and environmental concerns in the South China Sea, such as safety of lives and property at sea and the protection and preservation of the marine environment, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law including the 1982 UNCLOS.
40. Both sides exchange views on issues regarding the South China Sea. Both sides affirm that contentious issues are not the sum total of the Philippines-China bilateral relationship. Both sides exchange views on the importance of handling the disputes in the South China Sea in an appropriate manner. Both sides also reaffirm the importance of maintaining and promoting peace and stability, freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea, addressing their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and the 1982 UNCLOS.
41. Both sides recall the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the Joint Statement of the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN Member States and China on the Full and Effective Implementation of the DOC adopted in Vientiane on 25 July 2016. Both sides commit to the full and effective implementation of DOC in its entirety, and work substantively toward the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) based on consensus.
42. Both sides agree to continue discussions on confidence-building measures to increase mutual trust and confidence and to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities in the South China Sea that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability. In this regard, in addition to and without prejudice to other mechanisms, a bilateral consultation mechanism can be useful, which will meet regularly on current and other issues of concern to either side on the South China Sea. Both sides also agree to explore other areas of cooperation.
The following is the full text of the joint statement:
Treaties, Agreements and Joint Statements: