President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has accepted the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping for a state visit to China early next year, Malacañang said Friday.
Marcos’ state visit will take place from Jan. 3 to 5 or 6, 2023, the Office of the Press Secretary said.
The announcement superseded an earlier statement by ExecutiveSecretary Lucas Bersamin that the President would make a state visit to Japan ahead of a similar visit to China.
At the time, Bersamin told the Kyodo News service that Mr. Marcos attaches “great importance” to visiting Japan, the biggest source of official development assistance for the Philippines. He added that there was “no urgency” for the President to go to China as Manila continues to bolster its defense cooperation with Tokyo amid Beijing’s growing maritime assertiveness.
Bersamin said the President may ask for more help from Japan with regard to patrol boats, saying that “our coastlines will have to be defended.”
The Philippines has territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea in the waters within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said the President will visit the United States at least twice next year.
First, he will be in the US to attend the second Summit for Democracy.
US President Joe Biden led the first Summit for Democracy in December 2021.
Romualdez said the US would also host next year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s annual meeting.
“President Marcos will be coming to the United States definitely… at least twice next year,” the ambassador told ANC’s “Headstart.”
Romualdez said they have also discussed a possible state visit.
“We haven’t had a state visit here for 13 years now. We’ve not had a Philippine president come officially to the United States since about eight years ago,” he added.
The last Philippine leader who visited Washington was PresidentBenigno Aquino III, who went to the White House for an official visit in 2012.
The last state visit of a Philippine leader took place in 2003 when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was welcomed by President George W. Bush.
Mr. Marcos’ predecessor Rodrigo Duterte had said he would never visit the United States after US officials criticized his bloody war on drugs in which thousands of drug suspects were killed.