The Philippine government and China finally agreed to resume a joint resupply mission to a disputed naval base on the northern part of the South China Sea on Wednesday, after two days of “fruitless” talks, the Philippines’ foreign minister said.
Led by Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Philippine maritime security forces halted the resupply mission on Monday, after Beijing sent a bill to Manila to allow building on two artificial islands on Mischief Reef, a rocky outcrop about 100 miles northwest of Subic Bay in the Philippines. Philippine authorities alleged that the bill, read out to the navy by a China-based coast guard officer, was an attempt to steal away its turf.
Yesterday, at a new meeting, the two governments agreed to resume the joint ship resupply mission to the Subic base, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano told CNN Philippines. He said there were still “several minor” issues that had to be ironed out, including whether the Chinese military would allow Philippine personnel to visit the tiny outpost, which also holds mineral reserves.
Asked what the significance of yesterday’s meeting was, Cayetano told CNN he hoped that it would be the start of “more fruitful dialogues” between the two governments to resolve territorial disputes in the area.
“These are waters which belong to all of us,” Cayetano told CNN. “It is important to not create new facts, so we are talking about ways to resolve the misunderstandings and draw the line back.”
This article originally appeared on the New York Times.