Philippines, China commit to working on resolving differences

Relations between the two countries are more than South China Sea dispute, Manila says

By Reuters

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Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo shake hands during the welcome ceremony prior to their bilateral meeting in Manila on Saturday. — Reuters
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo shake hands during the welcome ceremony prior to their bilateral meeting in Manila on Saturday. — Reuters

Published: Sat 22 Apr 2023, 1:57 PM

Last updated: Sat 22 Apr 2023, 1:58 PM

The Philippines and China pledged on Saturday to work together to resolve their maritime differences in the South China Sea, where the two have competing claims, and to deepen bilateral ties.

Talks between the countries' foreign ministers mark the latest in a series of high-level meetings of the Philippines with leaders of the United States and China as the two superpowers battle for strategic advantage in the Indo-Pacific.


Manila's relations with Beijing are more than just their differences over the South China Sea, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said as he began talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Manila.

"These differences should not prevent us from seeking ways of managing them effectively, especially with respect to enjoyment of rights of Filipinos, especially fishermen," Manalo said, adding that their livelihoods are undermined by incidents and actions in the waterway.


Since Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr took office in June, the Philippines has filed dozens of diplomatic protests at the presence of Chinese fishing vessels and what it calls China's "aggressive actions" in the strategic waterway.

The two neighbours need to work together to continue a tradition of friendship, deepen cooperation and properly resolve differences, Qin said in his opening remarks.

Working together would help promote peace and stability of the region and the world, Qin said.

Qin is to meet Marcos later on Saturday, ahead of the president's meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington in May.

More than 17,000 Philippine and US soldiers are conducting their largest ever joint military drills in the Southeast Asian country, drawing criticism from Beijing, Manila's rival in the South China Sea.



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