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China Foreign Minister Ready for New 'Golden Era' With President Marcos

A commitment to stronger China-Philippines relations.
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In spite of maritime tension between China and the Philippines, China Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed his confidence in strengthening the two countries' relations in a meeting with President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.

Marcos sat down with the minister on Wednesday, July 6, to discuss agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and more. Wang is the second-highest Chinese official to have met with the President after meeting with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan during his June 30 inauguration. Last May, President Xi Jinping had been one of the first to congratulate Marcos on his landslide victory.

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The said meeting also included newly minted Department of Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo and Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian. The Chinese minister said that he and Manalo had met earlier that day to discuss the new administration's direction and how they could help “in all areas of comprehensive, strategic partnership.” He also claimed that they will now start working on a "new golden era" of bilateral ties.

According to a statement released on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China website, the Marcos presidency signals a "new page in China-Philippines" relations.

"China and the Philippines are close neighbors facing each other across the waters, with geographical proximity, close people-to-people bonds and cultural affinity. The exchanges between the two countries have lasted for over a thousand years," said Wang. "The only right way for China-Philippines relations is to stay committed to good neighborliness and friendship, and to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation."

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President Marcos has had a friendlier stance with the Chinese government since his campaign, once calling China our country's "strongest partner" against the pandemic. In his first press conference, President Marcos had advocated for more cultural and educational exchanges with China. He is also looking into the possibility of doing more joint ventures together in the private sector.

He has, however, expressed that when there should be a need to reassert our position over the West Philippine Sea, he would have a "firm voice." Wang also explained that China is looking into a "win-win" compromise with the Philippines on this matter.

The minister said: "The two sides should always properly handle maritime issues from a strategic and overall perspective, put them in an appropriate place in bilateral relations, give play to political wisdom, continuously advance joint development, speed up consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, make the pie of maritime cooperation bigger, and constantly expand mutual benefit and win-win results."

Still, the President will have his hands full with the two countries' ongoing disputes, as well as maintaining good ties with the United States.

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