INCOMING President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. is optimistic that the relations between China and the Philippines is set to shift to higher gear and is bound for more fruitful and meaningful outcomes for the two countries under his administration.
Marcos made the assessment following his lengthy telephone conversation on Wednesday with Chinese Xi Jinping, who also conveyed his congratulations and assured him that China will respect and support his incoming administration’s independent foreign policy.
Marcos said that he and Xi had a preliminary discussion on how the China-Philippines bilateral relations could move forward.
“Hindi ‘yung pang karaniwan na congratulations...Talagang marami kaming pinag-usapan. We talked about the way forward for the China-Philippine relationship. So, magandang maganda, very substantial,” he added.
He added he proposed that relations between the two countries could be expanded, not only in terms of bilateral and trade, but also in terms of culture, education, knowledge, and even health.
“Sinabi ko sa kanya sa aking palagay, the way forward is to expand our relationship not only diplomatic, not only trade, but also in culture, even in education, even in knowledge, even in health to address whatever minor disagreements that we have right now,” Marcos explained.
“At sinabi ko sa kanya we must not allow what conflicts or difficulties we have now between our two countries to become historically important,” he continued.
In a statement, after their talk, the Chinese Embassy quoted Xi as saying the two countries should also grasp the general trend, write a grand story on the China-Philippines friendship in the new era, and follow through the blueprint for bilateral friendly cooperation, to usher in an even brighter future for the two nations.
"If you do not know where you have come from, you cannot go far," Xi cited a Filipino saying as he urged both countries to carry forward the friendship of the two sides and stay true to their original aspiration.
Marcos said that Xi, aside from assuring him that China supports his stance on having an independent foreign policy, also acknowledged the role his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, played in the opening of diplomatic relations between their two countries.
“Sinabi naman niya, I know the part that your family played in the opening of relationships. Kaya sinabi ko the relationship between China and the Philippines is very, very important (not just) as a matter of foreign relations but also, there is an added facet because the opening of diplomatic relationships with People's Republic of China and the Philippines as started by my father should continue to grow,” he said.
The President-elect added that they both consider the forging of bilateral relations between China and the Philippines as one of the most important achievements of his father’s administration.
“Sinabi pa niya, my father has participated in and witnessed the development of China-Philippines relations, called him a builder, supporter, and promoter of the China-Philippines friendship,” Marcos noted.
Before the conversation ended, Marcos said both agreed to hold further bilateral talks to have a more comprehensive discussion of the issues.
“We are both looking forward to having further dialogues. And he stressed that they should be bilateral. Sabi niya kaming dalawa ang mag-uusap, ‘wag na ‘yung iba,” he also disclosed.