Philippines looks to shift relations with China into ‘higher gear’

  • Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jnr has said he hopes to move relations with China into a “higher gear” ahead of his first visit to Beijing since taking office in 2022.
  • Marcos, said that he hopes to discuss security issues with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping “in a bid to settle problems in a friendly manner” and “seek to resolve those issues to the mutual benefit of the two countries”.
  • Philippine foreign ministry said last week the president will raise the territorial dispute in the South China Sea and pursue energy cooperation when he meets Xi.
  • The Philippines and China are expected to sign more than 10 agreements during the visit, in areas such as trade and investment, energy as well as infrastructure.
  • Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that China hopes to see relations with the Philippines enter a “golden era”.
  • Marcos will be making his first visit to China since succeeding Rodrigo Duterte as president last June.
  • Duterte dramatically shifted the country’s foreign policy by seeking closer ties with China and a “separation” from the United States during his six years in office.
  • However, the South China Sea dispute remains unresolved and since Marcos took office, the country has stepped up its protests about Beijing’s actions in the disputed waters.
  • Despite the ongoing dispute, Manila said last week that the Philippines will open a new line of communication with China to prevent an accidental escalation of maritime tensions and is expected to formalise that process during the visit.

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