The relationship between the Philippines and China has “turned a new page,” Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday, as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. received him at Malacañang to discuss a wide range of issues, including infrastructure, agriculture, and energy.
“I am grateful to Minister Wang Yi for extending the message of congratulations and support from President Xi Jinping,” Marcos said in a tweet, where he also shared photos of his meeting with the top Chinese envoy.
Marcos said he and Wang also discussed “agriculture, energy, and our commitment to maintaining the strong relationship between our peoples in the coming years.”
State-run Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) also broadcasted a video of the meeting.
Wang made his “new page” remark during his bilateral meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) offices in Pasay City.
He pointed out that it is “equally important for China and the Philippines, as two close neighbors, to join hands to further enhance mutual trust [and] expand mutually beneficial cooperation.”
“With President Marcos being elected, the China-Philippine relationship has turned a new page. We highly appreciate President Marcos’ recent commitment to pursuing a friendly policy toward China and we speak highly of his latest statements that have sent a very positive signal to the outside world,” he said.
Wang was referring to an earlier statement of Marcos in June when he branded China as the Philippines’ “strongest partner.”
Marcos then said the difficulties and differences between the two countries would be “helped in every way as long as we continue trying and continue to communicate and continue to be forthright in the interest of each of our countries.”
Wang welcomed this, stressing that China is ready to work with the Philippines to “open up a new golden era” for their bilateral relationship.
“We are ready to work toward that same direction with the Philippines and to plan for our cooperation going forward in all areas of our comprehensive strategic partnership and I am confident that with our two sides working together, we can surely open up a new golden era for the bilateral relationship,” he said.
Wang arrived in the country on Tuesday upon the invitation of DFA chief Manalo, who said he looks forward to having fruitful exchanges with China’s envoy on important matters between Manila and Beijing.
“China has been a good friend and close partner of the Philippines in our recovery efforts, and we have stood shoulder to shoulder in times of great difficulty, helping one another so that we may both bring progress to our people and nations,” he added.
Wang was the first foreign counterpart received by Manalo since he assumed office on July 1.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Marcos told reporters that the South China Sea (SCS) territorial disputes, as well as the renewal of the Philippines and China’s closer cooperation in various fields, would be discussed during his meeting with Wang.
“Let’s have cultural exchanges, educational exchanges, even the military (exchanges) if that will be useful. Of course, the GTG (government-to-government [partnership]) has always been there, and the private sector and joint ventures have also been there. But I think that the more that we do, the more it will help resolve the issue,” he said.
However, Marcos stressed there are other matters that need to be touched on to “normalize” the relationship between the Philippines and China.
Wang was last in Manila in January 2021 for an official visit upon the invitation of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin.