2023 April 23
COURTESY CALL. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. welcomes Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Qin Gang to the Malacañang Palace on Saturday (April 22, 2023). Marcos and Qin discussed areas of cooperation, including economics, culture, education, and other exchanges. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the President)
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on. Saturday said his meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang was productive as it allowed Manila and Beijing to clarify “some pronouncements”.
“Some of the pronouncements that have been made recently by our two countries and many other countries might be misinterpreted,” he said.
“So today it was really useful that we were able to speak with Minister Qin Gang, the Foreign Minister of China, so we can talk directly to one another and iron things out,” he added.
Qin, who is on an official visit, met Marcos in Malacañang after his first in-person bilateral meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo on Saturday.
The Chief Executive did not elaborate but the statement comes after Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian’s recent remarks over Filipino workers in Taiwan drew flak, especially from lawmakers.
On Friday, Huang said the United States intends to take advantage of the new sites under Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) to interfere in the Taiwan Strait situation.
He said Beijing “reserves the option of taking all necessary measures” over the Taiwan Strait as it advised Manila to oppose “Taiwan independence” if it genuinely cares about the 150,000 Filipinos working there.
Manalo earlier reaffirmed that Manila adheres to the One China Policy while expressing concern over the escalating tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
But he stressed that the Philippines will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy that seeks to ensure stability and prosperity in the region.
“It’s very, very useful and very, very productive that Minister Qin came here and that we were able to talk things a little bit through, make plans for the future, continue to work on growing the relationship between the Philippines and China, not only in the economic field but in the cultural and educational and other exchanges,” Marcos said.
On the South China Sea row, Marcos said he and Qin agreed to establish more “lines of communications” to diffuse tensions and quickly resolve untoward incidents in the sea.
“As to the conflicts, we agreed to establish more lines of communications so that any event that occurs in the West Philippine Sea that involves China and the Philippines can immediately be resolved,” he said.
“So, we are currently working on that and are awaiting the Chinese response and we are confident that these issues would be worked out, that would be mutually beneficial for both our nations,” he added.
Joyce Ann Rocamora