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Cooperation boosted with Philippines

By XU WEI | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-01-06 06:58
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President Xi Jinping holds talks with Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 4, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Marcos' visit expression of sincerity and friendship between two nations

Beijing and Manila have reached a broad consensus on bilateral pragmatic cooperation and agreed to properly manage their differences on the South China Sea issue and resume talks about oil and gas explorations during the state visit by Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr to China from Tuesday to Thursday.

The reaffirmations come as a further boost to the pragmatic cooperation between the two nations.

In a joint statement released on Thursday, the two nations stressed that maritime issues do not comprise the sum total of relations between the two countries and agreed to appropriately manage differences through peaceful means.

The statement was released a day after talks between President Xi Jinping and Marcos at the Great Hall of the People, a meeting the two sides described as "friendly and productive" in the joint statement.

The three-day trip by Marcos marked the first visit by the Philippine leader to a non-ASEAN country since he took office in June 2022.

Wu Jianghao, assistant minister of foreign affairs, said in an interview after the talks between the two leaders that both nations agreed to further bolster their comprehensive strategic cooperation and remain close neighbors, kin and partners.

The trip marked a new milestone in bilateral relations, he said. "It is also a trip that enhanced mutual trust," he said.

As part of the broad confidence-building measures, the two sides decided to establish a direct communication mechanism between the departments of boundary and ocean affairs in their foreign ministries.

The proper management of maritime issues would entail greater development of bilateral relations, Wu said. "We have full confidence in this regard," the assistant minister said.

Both nations agreed to resume discussions on oil and gas development and strengthen maritime cooperation in areas such as environmental protection and the maritime economy.

They highlighted their joint commitment to cooperation in the four priority areas of agriculture, infrastructure, energy and people-to-people exchanges, as well as the need to pursue additional avenues of cooperation in defense and security, science and technology, and trade and investment.

Financial support

The Philippines expressed appreciation for China's offer of grants, among other forms of financial support, to fund economic and technical projects in support of the Philippines' socioeconomic agenda.

According to the statement, the two nations pledged to further increase bilateral trade in order to return to, and even surpass, the pre-pandemic levels.

"The two leaders highlighted the importance of promoting more balanced trade between the two countries by facilitating greater market access for Philippine exports into China," the statement said.

For the Philippines, China is the country's largest trading partner, the biggest source of imports and the second-largest destination for exports, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Trade between the nations reached $80.4 billion in the first 11 months of 2022, a year-on-year rise of 8.3 percent.

According to the joint statement, they pledged to restore the number of tourist arrivals and direct flights to pre-pandemic levels, in particular on the Beijing-Manila route.

The two nations also agreed to further promote public health cooperation in areas such as vaccine research and production and expressed support for the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.

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