MANILA - President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday denied that his administration has shifted government policy away from China, amid ongoing tensions in the West Philippine Sea as well as efforts by the Philippine government to strengthen its political and military ties with the United States.
Though Manila’s relations with Beijing continue to evolve along with the changing times, it still “hasn't changed in any fundamental sense,” Marcos Jr said in a media interview during the event of the Award for Promoting Philippines China Understanding (APPCU) at the Manila Hotel.
“We continue to foster the friendship, the relationship, the partnership that we have been developing with China since 1974 and 1975 when it became official,” the President said. “So that's how I describe it, it's a continuing search to find solution to the challenges that we face jointly with China.”
The President noted that during his recent visit to China, both Manila and Beijing established lines of communications to resolve disputes in the West Philippine Sea and ensure access to Filipino fishermen in disputed waters.
Marcos insisted the differences exist between the Philippines and China, will not define the relations of both countries, but by “common areas of interests and our common beliefs, and the similarities in our cultures which both countries will understand very well.”
“It is something that we will continue to work to resolve and to make sure that the peace and the safe passage across the South China Sea, the West Philippine Sea is assured," he said.
“And we look to China as partners in that effort to keep the peace and to keep the trade that is so important to this part of the world alive and vibrant," Marcos added.