China tells PH: Our countries must keep our promises
MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday said China’s investment pledges worth around $22.8 billion during President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr’s foreign trip there is “slowly being realized.”
Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, during his bilateral meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, said he intends to work closely with his counterpart to further strengthen economic ties, as China remained the country’s top trading partner.
“Our cooperation in agriculture, infrastructure development, energy, and science and technology are important elements of our bilateral economic ties,” the country’s top diplomat said during his speech.
“The revival of tourism, resumption of flights, and the exchanges of students, teachers, and workers will further strengthen our people-to-people linkages,” he added.
The cooperation in said sectors, the DFA chief said, would help the country’s economic agenda and will “likewise benefit our friends from China.”
Manalo, however, did not elaborate what sectors these investment pledges were lodged in and what stages these transactions are currently at.
Foreign Minister Qin, for his part, told his Filipino counterpart that the two countries should “keep their promises to each other,” following Marcos, Jr’s visit there earlier this year.
This aims to “bring more benefits to our two countries and our two people and inject greater positive energy to the peace and stability of this region and even the whole world,” Qin said.
“China is ready to work with the Philippines to truly implement the consensus between the President and our 2 countries, keep with the direction of friendship of our 2 countries, and currently uphold a larger picture of our bilateral relations,” he said.
Aside from this, Manalo noted “significant developments” after Marcos, Jr’s state visit to China last January.
There were back-to-back meetings such as the 23rd Foreign Ministry Consultations and 7th Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea, he said.
During the bilateral consultation mechanism last month, Manila and Beijing agreed to “further leverage” its role in the areas of diplomacy, defense, coast guard, and maritime affairs, among other things.
Meanwhile, he reiterated that the two nations’ issues on the West Philippine Sea are “not the sum total” of its bilateral relations, as tensions mount in the disputed waters.
Such differences “should not prevent us from seeking ways of managing them effectively,” he said.
"Especially with respect to the enjoyment of rights of Filipinos, especially our fisherfolk whose livelihood and general wellbeing are undermined by incidents and actions in the West Philippine Sea,” Manalo said.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, within which is the smaller West Philippine Sea.
Beijing has ignored an international court ruling that its claims have no legal basis.
As of late February, a total of 76 note verbales and diplomatic protests against China have been filed under Marcos, Jr, the DFA earlier said.