Asia - Pacific

China pushes new Philippines leader to keep ‘independent foreign policy’

Beijing, Manila ‘effectively managed differences through dialogue’ under Duterte, Xi tells President-elect Marcos Jr.

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 18.05.2022
China pushes new Philippines leader to keep ‘independent foreign policy’

ISTANBUL

Beijing hopes Manila “continues to pursue an independent foreign policy” under President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Chinese president said in a phone call with the incoming Filipino leader on Wednesday.

“The changes of the world, the times and history have been unprecedented, with peace and security facing new challenges,” Xi Jinping told Marcos, who secured a landslide presidential victory last week.

Xi emphasized the need for the two countries to maintain “good neighborly and friendly” relations as part of “an Asian family” that believes in “win-win cooperation.”

Marcos said the Philippines views China as one of its “most important partners,” state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

China and the Philippines share maritime borders in the hotly contested South China Sea.

They fought it out at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016, where Manila emerged victorious as Beijing’s claims over the resource-rich sea were invalidated by The Hague-based authority.

However, outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte later indicated that he would “set aside” the international tribunal’s ruling in a bid to strengthen ties with Beijing.

In his conversation with Marcos, Xi said Beijing and Manila had “effectively managed differences through dialogue and consultation” during Duterte’s six-year presidency.

“The Chinese side stands ready to work with the Philippines to strengthen strategic communication and coordination over major international and regional issues, and safeguard the sound momentum of peace and development in the region,” he said.

“China will, as always, provide active support and assistance to the Philippines in its economic and social development.”

Marcos pledged to make Philippines-China relations a “foreign policy priority,” saying he wants to “strengthen exchanges at various levels and deepen cooperation with China in economy, trade, infrastructure, energy, culture and education,” according to the report.

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