Ahead of change in PH administration, Beijing reiterates priority given to Manila

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2022 07:28 PM

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian pays a courtesy visit to presumptive president Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. Courtesy: Camp of Bongbong Marcos
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian pays a courtesy visit to presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. Courtesy: Camp of Bongbong Marcos

MANILA — China's envoy to the Philippines reiterated Thursday the assurance of his country's leader that Manila will continue to be prioritized in Beijing's 'neighborhood diplomacy'.

Ambassador Huang Xilian shared anew President Xi Jinping's vow ahead of a change in administration in the Philippines on June 30, and following the Chinese leader's phone conversation with presumptive President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.

"During his telephone call with President-elect Bongbong Marcos yesterday, President Xi Jinping pointed out that in the past six years, China and the Philippines have adhered to the good-neighborly friendship, worked together for common development and established a comprehensive strategic cooperative relationship," Huang said in a Facebook post.

 

He said that under a new Philippine administration, China will continue to "provide active support and assistance to the Philippines in its economic and social development."

"Noting that both China and the Philippines are developing countries in Asia, President Xi said the two countries' development is rooted in a good-neighborly and friendly surroundings and also in an Asian family featuring win-win cooperation," the envoy said.

Prior to Xi and Marcos' phone conversation, Huang personality visited the son and namesake of the late Philippine dictator on May 12 and handed him a congratulatory note in behalf of Xi.

"The Chinese embassy conveyed its hope 'to bring the two countries’ relationship of Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation to new heights,'" a statement had said.

Huang said he is confident that the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China would be "stronger" under a Marcos administration.

"China is willing to work with the next Philippine government to perserve the good-neighborliness and focus on development, so as to deepen our Relationship of Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation. I also believe that the bilateral relations will become even stronger, our people closer and our cooperation deeper and wider," the embassy said.

Xi regards Marcos as a "builder, supporter, and promoter of" the friendship between the two countries, it said.

President Rodrigo Duterte forged friendlier relations with China when he assumed power in 2016, amid Beijing's aggressive assertion of its claims in the West Philippine Sea. It is in contradiction to when the late former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was at the helm, during which the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China over their maritime disputes.

China's sweeping claims in the South China Sea, within which is the West Philippine Sea, has been adjudged as having no legal basis by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016.

Aside from Xi, other world leaders who congratulated Marcos on his election victory include US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Singaporean President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Unofficial tallies show Marcos got more than 31 million votes during the May 9 elections, more than twice the number of votes received by nearest rival Vice President Leni Robredo.

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