Message of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. on the 45th Anniversary of Philippines-China diplomatic relations, June 9, 2020, Manila.
Wăn shàng hăo!
There are stages in a great country’s history when, in surmounting the obstacles to its evident great destiny, it adopts measures of controversial character and uncertain result. These are monumental experiments with commensurate risks. But there is no other way forward. From these experiments it will draw lessons that will teach it how better to proceed—drawing encouragement from the parts that went well, learning caution and avoiding the parts that did not; to clear the board of old things obstructing a fuller realization of the new, with its potential for greater energy. In retrospect one sees the price often paid in a country’s quest for national greatness; the gains are not always so quickly realized and apparent. But we see them in the new China today. The late President Marcos asked my father a newspaper publisher, me, and his other writers to take a peek behind the Bamboo Curtain and tell him and our country what we saw.
We did that. We made sincere friends among the mainland Chinese. We did not have to do it. China was poor. It had nothing to offer except what we came to freely give and generously received in turn: sincere friendship and mutual understanding. It was 1967; the start of the Cultural Revolution. Only the Chinese people have the right to judge that stage of Chinese history; no other country especially in the West has any call or right to do so. They were not there; and had they been they would have seen only the worst they already thought of China. The proof is that of the Western journalists who went to China only one, Felix Greene, told the truth unvarnished but with the sympathy essential to putting it in historical context.
Not much later, President Marcos defied the threatening taboos of the Cold War then at its height; and boldly established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. His First Lady Imelda Marcos became an icon of Chinese womanhood. Since then there has never been a break in the friendship of our peoples. Among the first full state visits made by the new President of the newly restored Philippine democracy was to China. It came off very well and most warmly like a visit to long lost relatives. After all the People’s Republic of China was among the first to recognize the restored democracy and its elected government. We are still grateful for that. The feeling of warm friendship has not cooled let alone been lost, not even in our differences. But under President Duterte that old friendship has flowered into a new partnership for mutual profit and progress. For China is no longer poor. Far from it. Whatever happens in the future one achievement is undeniable and will always be to the new China’s unique credit: that in a time when many old rich countries experienced the fall of their middle classes into poverty, China raised 800 million from poverty to middle class by any scientific definition of the category. China knows something the rest of the world does not or will not admit and practice: that the first duty of a state is the care of its people, the material enhancement of their lives and the fuller realization of their individual talents for the greater good of all. Truly, to each according to their need; from each according to their ability. On the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and the Philippines, I offer heartfelt greetings and warmest best wishes. Truly Dōng Fāng Hóng the East is Red with the warmth of Filipino-Chinese friendship. God bless the Chinese and the Filipino peoples.