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Wang Yi Holds Talks with Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano of the Philippines

2018/03/21

On March 21, 2018, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing with visiting Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano of the Philippines.

Wang Yi welcomed Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to visit China again and noted that Alan Peter Cayetano is the first visiting foreign minister after the establishment of the new Chinese government, which fully demonstrated the importance of China-Philippines relations.

Wang Yi said that the current China-Philippines relations have entered the best period in recent years. This is what mutual exchanges should be like between the two neighboring countries, which conforms to the common interests of both countries and the two peoples, and is in line with the development trend of the times and the common aspiration of all countries in the region. From 2016 to present, the high-level exchanges between the two countries have become increasingly closer, and political mutual trust has been continuously strengthened, as well as cooperation in various areas has been fully restored and developed. The two sides have signed 40 cooperation documents with cooperation potential being rapidly released. Last year, the trade volume between China and the Philippines exceeded 50 billion US dollars, making China rise up as the largest trading partner of the Philippines. China’s investment in the Philippines also increased by 67% compared to the previous year. It is particularly worth mentioning that China-Philippines relations achieved two “one million” last year. First, China imported one million tons of tropical fruits from the Philippines. Second, one million person-times Chinese tourists traveled to the Philippines. The two “one million” have brought tangible benefits to the two countries, especially to the people of the Philippines. The reason why the relations between the two countries could achieve these results is the correct and powerful leadership of the two heads of state in the first place. President Rodrigo Duterte has reached a series of important consensus with President Xi Jinping on the development of bilateral relations. China welcomes President Rodrigo Duterte to participate in the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference next month in China and believes his visit will further promote the development of bilateral relations.

Wang Yi noted that the most important experience of China-Philippines relations in recent years is to properly handle the South China Sea issue through dialogue and consultation, vigorously safeguard the overall situation of bilateral relations and create a sound atmosphere for expanding cooperation between the two countries. Both sides agreed to continue upholding and maintaining this point. In the next step, China and the Philippines will focus on promoting the cooperation in following four aspects:

The first is to promote the “Belt and Road” cooperation. China and the Philippines face each other across the sea, and the Philippines has always been an important stop along the maritime Silk Road since ancient times. In the historical new era of the joint construction of the “Belt and Road,” the Philippines should be an important participant and beneficiary.

The second is to promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation. The two sides will continue promoting the two major cooperation pillars of security and development and building the “third pillar” of people-to-people and cultural exchanges at the same time to consolidate the public opinion foundation of the two peoples as well as to provide a solid guarantee for the long-term and stable development of bilateral relations.

The third is to promote maritime dialogue and cooperation. Both sides will give full play to the role of the bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea and the maritime cooperation mechanism of coast guard to strengthen maritime dialogue, and actively and steadily promote cooperation in offshore oil and gas exploration through equal and friendly consultation, in a bid to turn the South China Sea dispute from the negative energy that hinders the development of bilateral relations into the positive energy that promotes friendly cooperation between the two countries.

The fourth is to promote cooperation in regional integration. China is the most solid supporter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the most active participant in East Asian cooperation. The Philippines will succeed as the coordinator for China-ASEAN relations this August. The two sides will make joint efforts to well implement the commemorative activities for the 15th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN strategic partnership, so as to inject new impetus into regional integration. China is willing to increase its investment in East ASEAN Growth Area, build a new platform for China-ASEAN cooperation, and support the construction of the ASEAN community with more concrete measures.

Alan Peter Cayetano conveyed the congratulatory letter from President Rodrigo Duterte to President Xi Jinping and warmly congratulated China on the successful convening of the “Two Sessions”. Alan Peter Cayetano expressed that President Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippine government attach great importance to the relations between the Philippines and China and support China’s “Belt and Road” initiative. He commended and thanked China for vigorously supporting the Philippines in maintaining domestic stability and accelerating development. The Philippine side is willing to intensify cooperation with China, actively implement the consensus of the two heads of state, deepen practical cooperation in various fields and actively promote maritime cooperation, so as to push forward the Philippines-China relations for sustained and in-depth development.

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