MANILA - President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his allies on Wednesday guaranteed that friendly relations between the Philippines and China would continue under his administration, noting that the two countries can "look forward to more years" of cooperation.
Marcos, Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo were among the politicians who sent recorded messages to the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers Of Commerce & Industry, Inc (FFCCCII) in celebration of the 21st Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day.
"The centuries' old relationship and friendship of the Philippines and China has been and will continue to be of great mutual benefit to our people," Marcos said in his taped message.
"I join you in this celebration as we look forward to more years not only of diplomatic relations but of continuous, fruitful engagements between China and the Philippines as we continue to enjoy the friendship that we develop over the years," he said.
"The cooperative partnership of our two nations continue to reach new heights," he added.
In the months leading to the May 9 elections, Marcos reiterated his push to establish closer ties with China, and even told Chinese President Xi Jinping that Manila and Beijing "must not allow what conflicts or difficulties we have now between our two countries to become historically important."
Duterte-Carpio, for her part, thanked those who continue to "play their respective roles in the preservation of our independence along with the promotion of the ongoing Philippines-China Diplomatic Relations."
"It is evident that the enduring kinship between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China has led to the success of various endeavors across all industries that contributed to our growing economy over the years especially during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic," she said in a statement.
"I am looking forward to our mutual and continued prosperity through ongoing programs and to achieving new milestones together with the ever-active Filipino-Chinese community in the country," she added.
The daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte said she "remains hopeful in forging fresh relations that will help empower more communities in both nations, paving the way for a more sustainable and lasting peace for the future generation."
Arroyo, the chairperson emeritus of Duterte-Carpio's Lakas-CMD party, said the relationship between China and the Philippines was at its "golden age" during her presidency.
"That sheen of golden age dimmed for a while but that was a fluke," she said.
Arroyo did not mention any name, but her successor, the late former President Benigno Aquino III, questioned China's sweeping claims in the West Philippine Sea before an international arbitration court.
In 2016, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated China's historical 9-dash line around the most strategic trading route in Asia. Beijing is rejecting the ruling and continues its incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
"Most of our presidents have built on positive relations between the Philippines and China," she said.
"President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s relationship with China will be expanded and shifted to a higher gear," she added.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila earlier said that Xi and Marcos Jr. have agreed to "carry forward the friendship of the two sides and stay true to their original aspirations."
"The two countries should also grasp the general trend, write a grand story on the China-Philippines friendship in the new era and follow through the blueprint for bilateral friendly relations, so as to usher in an even higher, brighter future for the bilateral ties," it said in a statement.