MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday said he expects to tackle strengthening ties between Manila and Beijing when he meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Wang is scheduled to visit the Philippines from July 5 to 6, upon the invitation of the Philippines, said the Department of Foreign Affairs.
"Yes, I will meet with him and the usual agenda, I'm sure, will be to strengthen ties between China and the Philippines, and of course, to find ways to work to resolve the conflicts that we have," Marcos said in a press conference after meeting with his Cabinet.
Manila and Beijing are locked in a dispute over parts of the South China Sea, almost all of which China claims, despite a 2016 Hague ruling that its historical rights lack basis.
"One of the ways that I have consistently suggested is we have our relationship not only on one dimension, 'yun lang (just the) West Philippine Sea. Let's add to that," Marcos said. "Let's have cultural exchanges, educational exchanges, even military if that will be useful."
"Of course, the G2G (government-to-government) has always been there, the private sector joint ventures have also been there. But I think the more we do that, the more it will help resolve the issues," he added.
Marcos also noted that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was "an important player... in terms of the regional geopolitics."
"And even APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) because they have an interest, they are stakeholders in this. So I think we can say that we need for those, for them, ASEAN especially, to be active for their member-countries," he said.
ASEAN members that have overlapping claims with China and Taiwan in the South China Sea include the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
In late May, Marcos said he would not "allow a single millimeter of our maritime coastal rights to be trampled upon".
National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos said the Marcos government would continue filing diplomatic protests against China's incursions in Philippine waters.
The Philippine government has filed more than 200 diplomatic protests against China since Marcos's successor Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, the DFA earlier said.