Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos met with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi here on Wednesday, with both sides agreeing to upgrade bilateral cooperation and deal with the South China Sea issue through dialogue and communication.
The Philippine president said China is the Philippines’ largest trading partner and most important development partner, and both sides have initiated fruitful cooperation in all fields.
After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China was the first to supply vaccines and protective materials to the Philippines, said Marcos, adding that China has actively supported the “Build Build Build” program and greatly helped the Philippines in improving its basic infrastructure.
The Philippines hopes to continue pushing forward bilateral cooperation with China in politics, economy and trade, education, culture and other areas, so as to enrich the connotation of their comprehensive strategic cooperation, Marcos said.
He said the Philippines pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, and always adheres to the one-China policy. The South China Sea issue is not the mainstream of the Philippines-China relationship and should not become an obstacle to bilateral cooperation.
The Philippines is willing to carry out candid communication with the Chinese side to find a friendly solution to the issue, which is the right way for the two countries to get along, Marcos said.
Wang said the China-Philippines relations are at a new starting point and China is ready to work with the Philippine side to keep the general direction of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
Both sides remain committed to becoming good neighbors that help each other, good relatives that share mutual understanding and close bonds, and good partners that pursue cooperation and win-win results, so as to push for the upgrading of their cooperation and usher in a “golden age” in bilateral relations, Wang said.
While expressing China’s firm support for the new Philippine government, Wang said China is willing to engage with the Philippines to conduct cooperation in the four key areas of agriculture, infrastructure, energy, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, help the Philippines accelerate its development and revitalization, and bring about greater benefits to the Philippine people.
Wang stressed that cooperation between China and the Philippines far outweighs their maritime differences, and any difference between the two countries cannot define their relations, nor will it hinder their cooperation.
China and the Philippines should enhance dialogue and communication and properly handle sensitive issues so as to let maritime cooperation be the main tone of their discussion and handling of maritime affairs, he said.
Wang said the two countries should make the building of good neighbors, good friends and good partners as the new consensus between the two peoples.
On Wednesday, Wang also met with Philippine Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, with both sides expressing the willingness to deepen bilateral practical cooperation in the major fields of agriculture, infrastructure, energy as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
During their meeting, Duterte-Carpio said the Philippine side is looking forward to working with China to further the synergy with the Belt and Road Initiative.
She also said in her capacity as the education minister that the Philippine side hopes to intensify educational cooperation with China at all levels.
Wang said China stands ready to deepen cooperation with the Philippines in the education field, including on vocational education and language training programs, to support more Philippine youths to study in China, and to assist in improving teaching facilities to elevate modern education in the Philippines.
During the meeting, Wang also expressed China’s appreciation for the contribution of former President Rodrigo Duterte to secure a complete turnaround and enhancement in China-Philippine relations during his six-year tenure.