Politics

Marcos, Chinese envoy meet to discuss relations

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PHILIPPINE President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has met with China’s envoy to the Philippines in a bid to improve ties between the two nations, he said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

“We are very grateful for the visit, and we look forward to further strengthening the relationship between China and the Philippines for the benefit of both our peoples,” he said.

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said in a Facebook post on Thursday he is confident that China-Philippines relations would further grow “under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Marcos.”

Mr. Huang also met with Mr. Marcos in May to congratulate him on his presidential win on behalf of Mr. Xi.

Mr. Marcos earlier said he would enter into government-to-government deals with China and other countries to secure fertilizer supply for the Philippines. Mr. Huang’s Wednesday visit came weeks after tensions between China and the US over Taiwan.

The conflict was triggered by US House Speaker Nancy Patricia Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which China claims as a territory. Her visit angered China, which cut off talks on military issues and climate change.

Mr. Marcos this month told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a meeting in Manila that Ms. Pelosi’s Taiwan visit “did not raise the intensity” of a situation that was already volatile.

Mr. Blinken assured the Philippines the US would come to its defense if attacked in the South China Sea, seeking to allay concerns about the extent of the US commitment to a mutual defense treaty. He said a 70-year-old defense pact with the Philippines was “ironclad.”

“An armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels and aircraft will invoke US mutual defense commitments under that treaty,” Mr. Blinken told a news conference. “The Philippines is an irreplaceable friend, partner, and ally to the United States.” — KATA