BOUND by mutual interests, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said the country and China are expected to continue their almost five-decade vibrant bilateral relations despite their territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
“Now, of course, as to the differences between China and the Philippines, certainly they exist but it is not something that will define our relationship,” Marcos told reporters in an interview after attending the Award for Promoting Philippines-China Understanding (APPCU) Award Ceremony at the Manila Hotel.
The President said the previous administrations of former presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Rodrigo R. Duterte have already laid down the foundation, which includes the creation of the APPCU, for the country’s amicable relation with China.
“Time and again, we have proven that it is in our mutual interest to preserve the special rapport and kindred spirit that we have established and nurtured throughout our history,” Marcos said.
He noted this has led to regional peace and a vibrant trade between the two countries.
“The figures say it all. Following centuries old trade history, China has emerged as our top partner in terms of total trade: ranking first as our import source; and second as our export destination. China and its Special Administrative Regions are also second home to a substantial number of overseas Filipinos,” Marcos said.
Strengthening that relationship, he said, is now one of the priorities of his administration.
Part of the said effort, he said, was his talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping in January for better communications and understanding of fishing grounds in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) to address territorial issues.
“We will strive to make it more comprehensive, more strategic, all with a view to advancing the paramount interests of both our nations and our peoples,” Marcos said.
This year’s APPCU Hall of Fame awardees are Former President Duterte and former Special Envoy of the President to the People’s Republic of China, Ambassador Carlos Chan. The awardees for the APPCU Outstanding Contributions are Ambassador Rigoberto D. Tiglao, a columnist at the Manila Times and the former Philippine Ambassador to Greece and Cyprus, and Dr. Jaime T. Cruz, former Special Envoy to the People’s Republic of China, Trade and Investments. The awardees for the Major Contributions category are Regina Rosa D. Tecson, the Director of the Satellite Office of Vice President Sarah Duterte in Davao City, and Jose Ong Tajan, the former President of APCU Baguio and also the former chairman of the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Baguio City.
Image credits: AP/Carolyn Kaster