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Marcos off to China, says visit will open new chapter in strategic ties

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. departed for China on Tuesday afternoon and said he will open a new chapter in the bilateral ties between the Philippines and China, including resolving issues between the two countries.

Marcos made the statement during his departure speech before going on a three-day state visit to China, his first since he assumed the presidency on June 30, 2022.

“As I leave for Beijing, I will be opening a new chapter in our comprehensive strategic cooperation with China. We will seek to foster meaningful relations and broaden our cooperation in various areas such as agriculture, energy, infrastructure, science and technology, trade and investment, and people-to-people exchanges, among others,” Marcos said.

“I look forward to my meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping as we work towards shifting the trajectory of our relations to a higher gear that would hopefully bring numerous prospects and abundant opportunities for the peace and development to the peoples of both our countries," he added.

Marcos said he will discuss with Xi the political and security issues that need to be resolved.

“I also look forward to discussing political-security issues of a bilateral and regional nature. The issues between our two countries are problems that do not belong between two friends such as Philippines and China. We will seek to resolve those issues to mutual benefit of our countries,” he added. 

The diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China were established in 1975, when the President's father, the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was the country's leader. 

The President said that he accompanied his mother, then First Lady Imelda Marcos, on a trip to China in 1976 to lay the groundwork for the bilateral ties between the two countries.

"Since then, I have watched the development of our bilateral ties with great interest and attention," he said.

"In undertaking this trip, I continue that legacy of strengthening the bonds of friendship established between the Filipino and Chinese peoples and fostering bilateral ties to a higher plane of cooperation," Marcos said.

"Today, our ties are deep, multi-faceted, and mutually beneficial. China is our largest trading partner, a major source of official development assistance, and before the pandemic, the second largest source of tourist arrivals," he added.

Marcos said the Philippines is set to sign more than 10 key bilateral agreements with China during his trip. He also said he will invite Chinese nationals to return to the Philippines as tourists, students, and investors.

"Aside from sharing the wonders of our archipelago with our Chinese friends, strengthened people-to-people exchanges will allow us to bridge gaps in understanding between our two countries at every level. I will push for the resumption of tourism and cultural cooperation between our two countries," he said.

"I hope to return home to the Philippines with a harvest of agreements and investments that will benefit our countrymen and further strengthen the foundation of our economic environment," he added. —KG/VBL, GMA Integrated News