China says PH priority in neighborhood diplomacy

The top diplomats of China and the Philippines met over the weekend, as the former said it has always considered Manila as a priority in Beijing’s neighborhood diplomacy.

China also reiterated its commitment to speed up the construction of key infrastructure projects in the country, according to Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Wang met his counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., on Sunday when the latter visited Tunxi in East China’s Anhui Province.

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Wang stressed the Philippines is a “good neighbor” of China.

“Wang said China always takes the Philippines as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, and China’s good-neighborly and friendly policy toward the Philippines has maintained continuity and stability,” the embassy said in a statement.

The Chinese leader also reaffirmed China’s commitment to helping the Philippines with infrastructure and pandemic response.

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“China is ready to speed up the construction of key infrastructure projects with the Philippines and continue to provide Covid-19 vaccine assistance and enhance public health cooperation according to the needs of the Philippines,” Wang said.

The Chinese embassy revealed that both leaders also discussed the issue of the West Philippine Sea.

They agreed that this should not be “the total of the relationship” between the two Asian countries and that maritime issues should be placed in an appropriate position in bilateral relations.

“The two sides should remove disturbances, calmly and properly manage differences and not let them affect the overall situation of China-Philippines relations,” Wang said.

For his part, Locsin said the Philippines-China relations have become increasingly mature, and bilateral practical cooperation has achieved historic results, bringing lasting benefits to both sides.

“As a responsible major country, China is committed to independence and peaceful development, setting a new example in a turbulent world,” the Chinese embassy said, quoting Locsin.

“China has long promoted the development of other countries in the region through its own development and played an irreplaceable role in global economic growth,” it said.

Last month, Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago ‘Chito’ Sta. Romana and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian agreed that the past six years provided a “good momentum” for the relationship between the countries.

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