President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., said he will strengthen ties between the Philippines and China and find ways to resolve the conflicts and move beyond the West Philippine Sea issue when he meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who is in the country for a two-day visit.
Wang will be the first foreign minister to meet President Marcos, Malacanang said.
“The main agenda would be to strengthen ties with China,” the President said in his first press briefing in Malacanang after holding a four-hour Cabinet meeting—his first.
“One of the ways that consistently suggested is not to be in one dimension, the issue on the West Philippine Sea, but let’s have cultural, educational exchanges and even military if that will be useful,” Marcos said.
He also said that he would discuss with the Chinese official the role of ASEAN as they seek to iron out differences over disputed waters in the region.
“Let us do other things to normalize our relationship with China,” he added.
The President said the country has to continue to pursue bilateral contact and communication with China.
Wang last visited the Philippines in January 2021 for an official trip upon the invitation of then Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
The scheduled visit of China’s top diplomat to the Philippines comes amid ongoing maritime disputes between the two countries.
Meanwhile, European Council President Charles Michel has invited President Marcos to visit Brussels.
Michel, who was not able to attend Marcos’s inauguration, extended the invitation in a letter.
“We have much to discuss, from our bilateral relations, EU-ASEAN ties, and wider foreign policy issues, to our support for the rules-based international order,” he said.
Earlier, US President Joe Biden had invited Marcos to visit Washington, Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said.
No date has been set for the visit yet, he said.
The invitation was handed to Marcos by the husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris, Douglas Emhoff, when he headed the US delegation to attend the Philippine President’s inauguration.
“It is really an open invitation for President Marcos to come to the White House,” Romualdez added.
“There is no schedule yet on Marcos’s possible visit to Washington as this matter will be mutually agreed upon by their teams,” Romualdez said.
He added that it might take “a couple of months” to set up such a visit, as the President needed to give priority to domestic issues.