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China’s envoy sees better bilateral relations with PH

Zhao Jianhua

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua. INQUIRER.net PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua the other night asked the cooperation of the Philippine media in widening the door that had opened between Beijing and Manila, saying he was a “loyal reader” of all the newspapers in the country.

President Benigno Aquino III and Chinese President Xi Jinping met last month on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, where, in the words of Mr. Aquino, they had a short but “extensive” conversation.

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Zhao also said he was “optimistic” about the future relations between China and the Philippines, which, before the two leaders’ meeting in China last month, has become strained due to their dispute in the South China Sea.

Speaking at a Christmas party hosted by the Chinese embassy for the media at the Manila Peninsula, Zhao recalled that as a student in the United States, a professor in public relations told him that the best way to make friends with the media was to organize not a press conference but a “party.”

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“So today we have a party, just to make friends… It’s a party for friendship, it won’t be a press conference,” Zhao said.

He said media comments had “served as a very good platform for me to understand how you think and how you feel about China, about the relations between our two countries.”

He said that while some comments were not positive, he welcomed them nevertheless.

“Because it has given me a very good picture—comprehensive picture—to know how the Filipino people feel about our bilateral relationship,” he said.

Zhao also said he was as “concerned” as the media about Chinese-Philippine relations, but noted he was not going to talk about that subject at the party.

Zhao described as “very positive and very significant” President Aquino and Xi’s meeting at the Apec conference that China hosted last month.

“So I see an opening of a window or opening of a door of improving our relationship. So let’s pray and hope and work together to open the door or window wider so that we can make that progress in the improvement and development of our bilateral relationship,” Zhao said.

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TAGS: China, China-Philippines bilateral relations, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Philippines, President Benigno Aquino III
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