PBBM to envoy: Taiwan, WPS statements ‘might be misinterpreted’
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said some of the pronouncements that have been made recently on various issues by the Philippines and China “and many other countries might be misinterpreted” as he welcomed visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, the Philippines’ top diplomat expressed his concern to Qin over escalating tensions in waters around Taiwan, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
“As to the conflicts, we agreed to establish more lines of communications so that any event that occurs in the West Philippine Sea that involves China and the Philippines can immediately be resolved,” Mr. Marcos added in a statement from the Presidential Communications Office last night.
“So, we are currently working on that and are awaiting the Chinese response and we are confident that these issues would be worked out that would be mutually beneficial for both our nations,” the President added.
Mr. Marcos said it was “really useful” that he was able to speak to Qin “so we can talk directly to one another and iron things out,” adding the meeting was “very useful, very productive.”
“We were able to talk things a little bit through, make plans for the future, continue to work on growing the relationship between the Philippines and China, not only in the economic field but in the cultural and educational and other exchanges,” the President said.
Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo met Qin as the two countries seek to deepen economic ties while also managing their bitter dispute over islands in the strategic South China Sea, the DFA said in a statement after the talks.
“Secretary Manalo reaffirmed the Philippines’ adherence to the One China Policy, while at the same time expressing concern over the escalating tensions across the Taiwan Strait,” DFA said.
The differences over the South China Sea should not prevent Manila and Beijing from seeking ways to manage the maritime rows Manalo added after meeting his Chinese counterpart at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.
“Our leaders have agreed that our differences in the West Philippine Sea are not the sum (or) total of our relations,” Manalo said.
“These differences should not prevent us from seeking ways of managing them effectively, especially with respect to the enjoyment of rights of Filipinos, especially fisher folk whose livelihood and general well-being are undermined by incidents and actions in the West Philippine Sea.”
Qin, who arrived in Manila Saturday morning, is on an official visit until April 23 for a bilateral meeting with Manalo and a call on President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
China claims Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to bring the island under its control one day, by force if necessary.
Qin described China and the Philippines as “close neighbors across the sea”.
“Amid the fluid and turbulent regional situation, a healthy and stable China-Philippines relationship is not only meeting the aspirations of our two peoples, but also in line with the common aspirations of regional countries,” Qin said during the talks.
He told a forum in Shanghai on Friday that recent rhetoric accusing China of disrupting peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait could have dangerous consequences.
“Such claims go against basic common sense on international relations and historical justice,” he said in Shanghai.
“The logic is absurd and the consequences dangerous.”
China staged military exercises around self-ruled Taiwan this month that simulated targeted strikes and a blockade of the island.
This was in response to a meeting between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.
Beijing claims almost the entire waterway and has ignored a 2016 international tribunal decision that ruled its claims have no legal basis.
Other regional issues were also on the agenda of Saturday’s talks, the DFA said.