MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. is confident the Philippines and China will “overcome differences” amid “plenty of avoidable” ones as the two countries mark the 46th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic relations and the 20th Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day.
In a taped video message in a virtual program to celebrate the occasion, Locsin said that the "trust and goodwill" nurtured through the years by the two countries "will bear much fruit" amid "highs and lows in the relationship."
Locsin did not specifically refer to the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China but referred to "plenty of avoidable differences that serve no purpose on the part of either."
"But still through it all we come through. I am confident that the abiding trust and goodwill of our countries nurtured through the years will bear much fruit in the years ahead," Locsin said.
"As in the old days when we broke through barriers one after another in language, in culture, and beliefs, I have faith that we will once again overcome our differences. That faith has its deep foundations down to the bone of shared blood and life stories," he added.
Locsin said that the Filipino-Chinese community is a reminder of the "unbreakable ties" between the two countries, with him having Chinese ancestors as well who came to the Philippines 300 years ago.
Speaking in Mandarin in a videotaped message, Chinese Embassy Charges d’affaires Tan Qingsheng expressed optimism about the two countries’ relations, stressing the importance of maintaining "strategic communication" and "properly handling differences".
"China’s development will also bring important opportunities for the development of the Philippines. As long as our two sides hold on to the right direction of friendly cooperation, maintain strategic communication, properly handle differences and focus on practical cooperation, I am confident that China-Philippines relations will usher in a brighter future," Tan said.
Tan also shared that the Chinese government has approved the export of Chinese vaccines intended for the overseas Chinese in the Philippines "which will arrive soon".
"In order to ensure that the overseas Chinese in the Philippines could be vaccinated at an early date, the CPC (Communist Party of China) Central Committee and the State Council of China have overcome difficulties including scarce domestic vaccine supplies, and approved the export of a batch of vaccines to the Philippines which will arrive soon," Tan said.
Cultural presentations were featured in the virtual program organized by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese Embassy in Manila, together with the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Associations of the Philippines Foundation, Inc.
Meantime, in Chongqing, China, Chinese State Councilor is meeting with ASEAN foreign ministers on June 7 and 8 for the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting to mark the 30th anniversary of dialogue relations and the 6th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers' Meeting.
"The fact that the two sides agreed to hold a face-to-face special foreign ministers' meeting despite the ongoing grim COVID-19 situation reflects how countries attach great importance to and hold high expectations of China-ASEAN relations under the new circumstances," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a statement.
"State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi expects to work with ASEAN foreign ministers to take stock of and summarize the outcomes and experience of China-ASEAN cooperation in the past 30 years, focus on combating COVID-19 and promoting economic recovery, better dovetail strategic plans and foster new highlights in practical cooperation to upgrade the relationship and make new contributions to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region," Wang said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wang will also hold bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of ASEAN states and the ASEAN Secretary-General.