By Gong Yingchun | China.org.cn
Filipino politician and Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. called for more people-to-people exchanges between China and the Philippines at a special seminar themed "Government + NGOs: Synergy for Regional Peace and Development", which took place during the China-Southeast Asia High-Level People-to-People Dialogue. The dialogue opened on Monday in Nanning, southeast China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and attendees discussed the important role that civil societies have played in the cooperation and exchanges between China and Southeast Asian countries.
Marcos Jr. noted the various differences and disagreements which have divided China and the Philippines, but stressed that conflict should not become the main feature of bilateral relations between the two countries. He said: "Let us make it [conflict] a minor part [of our relationship] and pursue further contacts, exchanges and cooperation in other sectors."
Marcos Jr. also emphasized trade cooperation between China and the Philippines, commenting that the trade volume between the two countries has doubled in value since 2009. "Although that sounds encouraging, when taken in absolute terms, the figure of 12.8 billion US dollars still leaves great room for growth", he explained.
Marcos Jr. also pointed out the importance of cooperation between the two countries in the tourism, education, agriculture, health care and disaster response sectors, saying that both countries can learn from each other's experiences, and mutual assistance and information exchanges would seem a natural point of cooperation.
"What has long sustained our relations thus far has generally been in the area of cultural and arts exchanges. This plays no small part in deepening the understanding between our two peoples", Marcos Jr. said.
He added: "These areas of possible partnerships in international exchanges and cooperation can only be enhanced by the participation of organizations such as CNIE (China NGO Network for International Exchange), whose network of NGOs can serve as a conduit for such activities." Marcos Jr. concluded by saying that the Philippines are looking forward to working with China through organizations for the continued enhancement of friendship between the two countries in particular and ASEAN and the wider region in general.