By Azer Parrocha

CHINA STATE VISIT. President Xi Jinping rolls out the red carpet for President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. during the Filipino leader’s state visit to China from Jan. 3 to 5, 2023. Marcos underscored the importance of increasing trust and cooperation with China and other nations for economic growth and sustainable development. (Screengrab from BBM vlog)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. took a trip down memory lane as he recalled his first visit to China as a teenager in 1974 and reflected on how far both countries have come in terms of deepening their relations.

In his recent vlog, Marcos said he was happy about how he and his mother, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, had the chance to interact with and have their photo taken with former Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) in 1974.

He bared that Chinese President Xi Jinping even gave him another copy of that particular photo that was shown to him during his state visit in China from Jan. 4 to 5.

“Si President Xi ay binigyan din ako ulit ng isang kopya nung picture na ‘yun (President Xi gave me again a copy of that photo) because when it came out in international news, they took me out,” he said in his vlog.

Marcos mulled over 47 years of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China which began with the signing of a Joint Communiqué between his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. and the late Premier Zhou Enlai in June 1975.

He reiterated how he considers strengthening ties between the two countries as both a “responsibility” and a “privilege.” 

A young Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (left) and his mother, then First Lady Imelda Marcos, flank Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong during a visit to China in September 1974. Marcos said he learned a lot from joining the state visits of his late father and former president, Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. (Screengrab from BBM vlog)

Marcos said his trip to Beijing allowed him and Xi to continue discussions that started on the sidelines of the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand in November last year.

He underscored the importance of increasing trust and cooperation with China and other nations for economic growth and sustainable development.

“Dahil labing-apat na memorandum of agreement ang nasaksihan naming napirmahan, ito ang mga kasunduan na direktang makakapagdala ng mas maraming kita para sa ating bansa at mas maraming trabaho para sa ating mga kababayan (Because we witnessed the signing of 14 memoranda of agreement, this will directly result in more funds for our country and more jobs for our people),” he added.

Marcos secured USD22.8 billion in investment pledges from Chinese investors during his state visit to China.

Aside from these pledges, Marcos and Xi also agreed to establish a “direct communications line” on concerns related to the South China Sea in the West Philippine Sea to prevent any miscommunication between the two countries.

He also vowed that the Philippines would value Philippine-China relations even more than it did over 40 decades ago.

Ang relasyon ng Pilipinas at Tsina ay patuloy natin pangangalagaan higit pa sa ginawa natin nitong nakalipas na ilang dekada para sa interes ng ating bayan, para sa kapakanan ng ating mamamayan (We will continue to value the relationship between the Philippines and China more than we have done in the past few decades for the interest of our people, for the welfare of our people),” he said.

Marcos’ trip to China was his first official visit to a non-Association of Southeast Asian Nations country in Asia. (PNA)