PH, China hold first physical foreign ministry consultations in 4 years
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and China held on Thursday its first physical foreign ministry consultations in Manila since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has been almost four years since the last physical foreign ministry consultations,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations and Association of Southeast Asian Nations Affairs Ma. Theresa Lazaro said during the 23rd Philippines-China Foreign Ministry Consultations.
“The Philippines attaches much importance to this mechanism as our discussions here allow us to cover the overall relations between our two countries and as compared to the bilateral consultation mechanism of the South China Sea which only covers the maritime issues,” she added.
Lazaro said that the Philippines is looking forward to using the consultations as an avenue to implement the consensus between Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the former’s state visit last January.
“Through these consultations or foreign ministry consultations, we hope to translate the outcomes of the state visit into concrete and high-impact engagements that mutually beneficial for our two countries and peoples,” she said.
China, for its part, expressed its commitment to a development philosophy that is “people-centered and focused on promoting high-quality development.”
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong said that they will give opportunities across the globe, especially its adjacent nations.
“We will promote the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through Chinese modernization and provide new opportunities to the world with our development, and countries in the neighborhood, including the Philippines, will be the first to benefit from such opportunities,” Sun said in Chinese language.
“As neighboring developing countries, China and the Philippines need to work together for our respective modernization and our respective development and rejuvenation,” he continued.
Sun further stressed that the Philippines and China should strengthen their bilateral relations.
“We need to comprehensively deepen our comprehensive strategic cooperation and enhance our cooperation in various practical areas and properly deal with our differences through friendly consultation,” he said.
“We need to keep to the general direction of friendly relations between our two countries,” the foreign official went on.
On Friday, March 24, the two nations will hold its seventh Bilateral Consultations Mechanism on the South China Sea.
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