Philippines says it and China reaffirm strong relations

MANILA (Reuters) - The foreign ministers of the Philippines and China reaffirmed their countries' close ties on Saturday, the Manila Foreign Ministry said amid bilateral tensions over the South China Sea.
China, which has been embroiled in maritime disputes with other coastal states in the South China Sea for years, has been conducting exercises in controversial parts of the strategic waterway in recent months, at a time when other claimants are battling coronavirus outbreaks.
"Both sides reaffirmed the continued vitality of the relationship despite the constraints imposed by COVID-19," the Philippine Foreign Ministry said in a statement following talks between Teodoro Locsin and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Yunnan.
Locsin and Wang had "an open and thorough exchange of regional security concerns," the ministry said. No discussion of the South China Sea, which is considered to be rich in energy reserves and marine resources, was mentioned in the statement.
The ministers "promised to promote sustainable political dialogues as well as projects for economic and infrastructural cooperation," it said.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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