MANILA, Philippines — On Tuesday, a bilateral meeting between the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, and the President of China, Xi Jinping, happened in Bangkok, Thailand, on the sidelines of the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting.
This is Marcos’s first bilateral meeting with Xi, as well as his first bilateral meeting at the APEC Summit.
Despite their continuing territorial dispute in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), the two countries discussed how to strengthen bilateral ties.
According to Marcos, he and Xi talked about regional issues, but they focused primarily on the preparations for Marcos’ upcoming state visit to China in January. However, the details that need to be discussed between the Philippines and China will be taken up during the visit.
“It’s the first time that I’ve met President Xi Jinping, and I was very happy that we were able to have this opportunity here in the APEC Meeting in Bangkok to have a bilateral meeting.”PRESIDENT FERDINAND “BONGBONG” MARCOS
“The bilateral meetings are really just a kind of getting-to-know-you, and that was the same with our meeting,” he added.
Marcos also stated that he is looking forward to his state visit to China in January.
On the other hand, Xi assured Marcos that Beijing is ready to maintain regular communication with Manila and continue to address its issues.
“On the South China Sea, the two sides must stick to friendly consultation and handle differences and disputes properly.”Xi said in a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry
“China and the Philippines need to keep strategic independence, uphold peace, openness, and inclusiveness, and stay the course of regional cooperation,” he added.
Xi also cited that both countries should work together to “reject unilateralism and acts of bullying, defend fairness and justice, and safeguard peace and stability in the region.”
In 2016, a group of international arbitrators in The Hague agreed that the Philippines has sovereign rights to parts of its exclusive economic zone that China is claiming. However, China has ignored the ruling and maintained its claims to almost the entire South China Sea.