Marcos yet to confirm trip to China, state visit to US, says Press Secretary

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2022 01:40 PM

MANILA - President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has yet to confirm if he has accepted the invitation to visit China and the United States, his Press Secretary said on Monday.

United States President Joe Biden sent a handwritten invitation for Marcos to make a state visit to the US, while some reports circulated that the Philippine President is set to travel to China next week.

"The president has not announced any state visits for now. He is busy building his Cabinet," Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles told reporters when asked for details about the two trips.

"Let’s wait for Malacañang to formally acknowledge it, and then we will probably make the announcement with regard to whether or not it’s going to happen," she said.

Several analysts earlier noted that the US and China have been seeking to strengthen their ties with the new Philippine administration as the two world powers continue to jockey for influence in the region.

The US and its allies have been challenging China's sweeping claims in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway where billions-worth of sea-borne goods pass through annually.

While Washington is Manila's traditional ally, former President Rodrigo Duterte pivoted toward Beijing during his administration after American leaders criticized his war on drugs.

Despite Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea, Duterte forged closer ties with the world's second largest economy in exchange for billions of loans to fund his massive infrastructure program.

Last week, China sent its Vice President Wang Qishan, while the US sent second gentleman Douglas Emhoff to lead a 7-member delegation to attend Marcos' presidential inauguration.

The Philippines' newly-elected President earlier said that he would keep an independent foreign policy.

Aside from the two countries, Singapore also invited Marcos to make a state visit.