DFA: Marcos to Push Through with China State Visit Despite COVID Surge

Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Marcos shake hands before the start of their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bangkok, Thailand on Nov. 17, 2022.

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will still travel to China for a state visit from January 3 to 5, 2023, despite a recent increase in COVID-19 cases.

According to Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Nathaniel Imperial, Marcos’ impending trip to China is significant since it will be his first state visit outside of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since becoming president in June.

“There is an expectation that the state visit will set the tone of bilateral relations between the two countries in the next five to six years.” 

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Nathaniel Imperial

Imperial highlighted that Marcos’ state visit to China, at Xi Jin Ping’s invitation, cannot be simply postponed.

“We have received assurances from our Chinese host that all arrangements are being made to ensure the President’s and his delegation’s safety during the visit,” Imperial said. 

“Every precaution is being undertaken to ensure that the delegation is not infected and does not bring back the new variants of the virus to the Philippines,” he added. 

Imperial further reported that Marcos will be joined by First Lady Liza Marcos, former President and House Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and House Speaker Martin Romualdez. 

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and other Cabinet secretaries who may be needed to sign bilateral agreements with their Chinese counterparts will also be joining the chief executive. 

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