PH, China hope for 'smooth, safe' APEC

Aleta Nieva-Nishimori,

Posted at Nov 10 2015 05:25 PM

MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario met with his Chinese counterpart, Minister Wang Yi, on Tuesday to discuss preparations for the 2015 APEC Leaders Meeting where President Xi Jingping is expected to attend.

"The meeting focused on two issues: preparations for APEC and our bilateral relations. On APEC, Minister Wang said [the] main purpose of his visit is to confer with Philippine government officials regarding preparations for APEC, to ensure the attendance of President Xi Jinging in the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting will be smooth, safe, and successful," Jose said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Wang also expressed China's support for the Philippine hosting of the APEC Summit this year.

"The secretary said, we are committed to being a good host to all guests, and we will endeavor to do everything possible to ensure that President Xi Jingping's visit will be smooth, safe, and productive," Jose said.

After the one-hour meeting with Del Rosario, Wang also paid a courtesy call on President Benigno Aquino III in Malacanang and other Philippine officials.

Jose said that the two sides agreed to resume foreign ministry consultation "in order to explore areas where we can move the bilateral relations forward."

Meanwhile, Jose said that the South China Sea dispute will not likely be discussed in the APEC Summit.

"For us, we are unable to discuss the South China Sea issue basically because we have an arbitral case pending before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In the context of APEC, we both agreed that APEC is an economic forum, and it won't be the proper venue to discuss political-security issues," said Jose.

Wang's visit comes a few weeks after an arbitration court in the Netherlands ruled it has jurisdiction over Manila's case against Beijing over their maritime row in the South China Sea.