President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said he would meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to strengthen ties between Beijing and Manila.
Marcos said other things should be tackled between the Philippines and China, and not just the issue on the West Philippine Sea.
"Yes I will meet with him and the agenda I'm sure will be to strengthen ties with China and the Philippines and of course, to find ways to resolve the conflicts that we have," Marcos said at a press briefing, his first after he took oath as the country's 17th Philippine president last June 30.
"One of the ways that I will consistently suggest is that we have our relationship not only on one dimension, 'yun lang West Philippine Sea, let's add to that," he added.
Marcos said cultural and educational exchanges should also be done as well as discussions on military "if that will be useful."
"It's essentially always trying to find ways to improve relationship and we have many proposals to them in the sense that we would like for us to increase the scope, huwag lang 'yung West Philippine Sea ang pinaguusapan ng China at Pilipinas (not just the issue on the West Philippine Sea), let's do other things to and it will normalize our relationships," Marcos said.
The meeting, however, has no schedule yet, according to the President.
Earlier, Marcos branded China as the Philippines’ strongest partner.
He previously said his administration would defend the country's sovereignty by talking to China "with a firm voice," as he also admitted that the Philippines could not afford to go to war against China, a similar stance held by his predecessor, President Rodrigo Duterte.
China has since ignored the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, invalidating its sweeping claims over the West Philippine Sea.
Meanwhile, Marcos also mentioned that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have key roles about regional politics.
"I will also mention that it is an important player and important actor in terms of the regional politics will be ASEAN and even APEC because they have an interest, they are stakeholder in this so I think we can say that we need for them, for ASEAN to be active for their member countries," Marcos said. — RSJ, GMA News