Philippine president Marcos off to China for 3-day state visit

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President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr is heading to China on Tuesday for a three-day state visit, during which Manila and Beijing are expected to bolster trade and investment ties and address security issues of mutual concern.

More than 10 key bilateral agreements are expected to be signed during the visit, in addition to the more than 100 agreements the Philippines already has with China, said Marcos in a speech on Tuesday before departing for Beijing.

The expected agreements are regarding cooperation on such areas as trade and investments, agriculture, renewable energy, infrastructure, development cooperation, people-to-people ties and maritime security cooperation.

“I will be opening a new chapter in our comprehensive strategic cooperation with China,” Marcos said.

He also said he will discuss “political security issues” during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Marcos said he will also seek to resolve these issues with Beijing for the “mutual benefit” of the two nations.

At a Palace briefing last week, Neal Imperial, the assistant secretary for Asian and Public affairs of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, said: “The state visit is also expected to reaffirm the cordial and neighborly relations between the two countries, ensure continuity in many facets of the bilateral relationship and chart new areas of engagement.

“It is also expected to build on the growing trade and investment ties between the two economies as well as address security issues of mutual concern.”

The President will be accompanied by first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Speaker Martin Romualdez, Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Tourism Secretary Cristina Frasco, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy and other department chiefs.

Marcos is expected to arrive in Beijing on Tuesday night. His activities begin on Wednesday, with successive meetings with Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, as well as with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and President Xi Jinping.

Xi will then host a state banquet for his Philippine counterpart.

This will also be the second meeting between the two leaders after their meeting in Thailand in November on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

In September 1974, Marcos, then a teenager, accompanied his mother, then first lady Imelda Marcos, during her diplomatic and trade mission to Beijing where she met Chinese leaders Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.

The visit led to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China in June 1975, with Marcos’ father and namesake visiting Beijing that month.

Imperial said a “sizeable” business delegation will join the President for his trip, with meetings to be held on Wednesday and Thursday. Business deals, he said, are expected to be signed during Marcos’ visit.

In his speech on Tuesday, Marcos said that bilateral cooperation between the two countries has grown steadily. “Today, our ties are deep, multi-faceted, and mutually-beneficial.”

He added: “China is our largest trading partner, a major source of official development assistance, and, before the pandemic, the second-largest source of tourist arrivals.”

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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