MANILA, July 1 (Mabuhay) — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has sought to bring the Philippines’ bilateral ties with China “to a higher level.”

Marcos made the commitment during his meeting with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan at the National Museum of Fine Arts in the City of Manila on Thursday.

Marcos, based on a statement released by China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency, considered China as “the most powerful partner of the Philippines.”

Marcos said the Philippines’ “good-neighborly friendship” with China is in the fundamental interests of both peoples, Xinhua said.

“The new Philippine government attaches utmost importance to the relations with China, and is willing to deepen its participation in the joint construction of the Belt and Road, join hands with China in coping with regional challenges, and elevate the bilateral ties to a higher level,” said Marcos, as quoted by Xinhua.

Wang likewise told Marcos that he and his family have made “great contributions to enhancing the China-Philippines friendship.

He also expressed China’s willingness to work with the Philippines under Marcos’ leadership.

Wang said, “the Chinese side has always given priority to the Philippines in its neighborhood diplomacy, and is ready to work with the new Philippine government in carrying on their friendship, boosting mutual trust and deepening cooperation so as to usher in a new ‘golden age’ in bilateral ties.”

On the issue of South China Sea disputes between the two countries, Wang stressed the need for the parties to “properly resolve differences and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility” in the contested waters.

He also said the two countries should uphold international equality and justice, and jointly promote peace and development in Asia, as well as the well-being of humanity.

“The Chinese vice president said that both sides should develop bilateral relations under the guidance of the two heads of state, who will steer the course of the development of bilateral ties,” according to the statement.

In a separate statement, Xinhua said Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to Marcos.

Xi, in his congratulatory message, vowed to continue the good relations with the Philippines under the Marcos administration.

“Xi said he is ready to work with Marcos to chart the course for the development of bilateral ties from a strategic and long-term respective, and continue to write a great chapter of the China-Philippines friendship and cooperation for the new era, so as to benefit the two countries and their people,” Xinhua said.

Radio Television Malacañang released a short video clip of Wang’s courtesy call on Marcos.

Malacañang has yet to provide specifics of the meeting between Marcos and Wang, one of the foreign dignitaries who attended the former’s inauguration as the 17th Philippine president.

Apart from Wang, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Don Pramudwinai, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, Australian Governor General David Hurley, and United States Second Gentleman Douglas Craig Emhoff also paid a visit to Marcos at the National Museum of Fine Arts. (MNS)

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