By Benadette Tamayo | Journal Online
Sports and cultural exchanges between the Philippines and China may be “the key” to end the on-going tension between the two countries due to the overlapping claims in the West Philippine Sea.
Vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. made the remark amid a series of incidents of harassment of Filipino fishermen by the Chinese navy in the disputed areas in West Philippine Sea and stern warnings of Beijing over defense arrangements between the Philippines and the United States.
Marcos said talks should be initiated with China and they need not be done formally but may be conducted through various informal exchanges like sports and culture.
“In my view we should have engaged China in bilateral talks long ago. And when I say bilateral talks I mean not only government-to-government but also informal engagements such as educational exchange, sports, and cultural exchanges,” said Marcos.
He hopes that the next administration will immediately initiate moves for a dialogue with China to defuse the escalating tension between the two countries.
“We have an on-going arbitration case before the United Nations but I think we have not done enough as the situation continues to deteriorate and our diplomatic relations with China has not improved either,” said Marcos.