MANILA — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Saturday noted the importance of the Philippines “managing differences peacefully” with China, characterized by “mutual support” as the Chinese foreign minister visited the country for bilateral talks.
Locsin made the remarks as he met Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi earlier in the day. The foreign minister was in Manila for the third time.
“It behooves us to show our ability to rise to the challenge of managing differences peacefully and in accordance with law, while making headway towards trust-building and practical concrete mutually beneficial cooperation,” Locsin said during his meeting with Wang, according to a transcript released by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Locsin also hailed the Philippines and China’s cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said has “further enhanced” the friendship of the two nations.
The foreign affairs chief also underscored China’s “essential” and “imperative role” in the post-pandemic global recovery, citing the ongoing collaboration with the Philippines on priority economic and infrastructure projects.
“Mutual support and growing trust characterize our ties more than ever. For the Philippines has risen in China’s defense and brought along the rest of the region in that action, most notably in Laos,” Locsin said.
Wang’s visit in Manila, Locsin added, showed “the strong and manifold ties that bind the Philippines and China,” adding that the country considers its relations with China as among its most important bilateral relationships.
“China’s position as the Philippines’ top trading partner for four years now, and as a leading investment, ODA (official development assistance) and tourism source, highlight China’s significance to our country,” Locsin said.
Earlier in the day, the two countries inked the commercial contract of China-funded Subic-Clark railway project worth $940 million, considered one of the “highest-funded” deals between the two nations.