Chinese foreign minister to visit Manila for talks with DFA chief
MANILA, Philippines — Chinese state councilor and foreign minister Qin Gang will arrive in Manila on Friday, April 21, to hold bilateral talks with his Philippine counterpart. The meeting is expected to cover “regional security issues of mutual concern,” among others.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday that Qin has accepted the invitation of DFA chief Enrique Manalo for an official visit to the Philippines until Sunday, April 23.
For the first time, Qin and Manalo will meet in person to “exchange views” on the results of the Philippines-China Foreign Ministry Consultations and the Bilateral Consultations Mechanism on the South China Sea held in March.
“The two foreign ministers will discuss ways forward in the implementation of the agreements reached at the highest levels during the meeting between President [Ferdinand] Marcos and Chinese President Xi Jin Ping on January 4, 2023,” DFA said in a statement.
Marcos and Xi had met in Beijing during the former’s state visit, where they discussed handling maritime disputes in a consultative manner, and resuming joint oil and gas exploration talks in the West Philippine Sea, among others.
The DFA said the agenda of the discussions between Qin and Manalo will include improving cooperation in agriculture, energy, trade, infrastructure, and people-to-people relations.
“They will also discuss regional security issues of mutual concern,” it added.
The DFA has yet to confirm if Qin will also be meeting President Marcos during his three-day visit.
Qin’s trip to Manila comes against the backdrop of flared-up tensions between the Philippines and China, especially after the latter’s ambassador in the country cited the security and welfare of Filipino migrant workers in Taiwan as he “advised” the Philippines to oppose the independence of the self-ruled, democratic island.
China had also repeatedly cautioned the Philippines against expanding its defense pact with the United States – a Taiwan-backing global giant.
The past month saw major developments in the US-Philippine relations, particularly on matters concerning defense and security, as forces from both countries launched their largest-ever joint military exercises last week.
The two longtime allies also added four additional sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, granting American troops access to more military bases in the Philippines, particularly in Palawan and Northern Luzon.