By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA – An official of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) on Monday said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s first state visit to China from Jan. 4 to 5 was a “very significant” move to deepen China-Philippines diplomatic relations officially established during the time of his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.
FFCCCII Media and Public Information Affairs Committee vice chair Lily Lim said the bilateral relations between the two nations have improved over the years since the signing of a Joint Communiqué between Marcos Sr. and the late Premier Zhou Enlai in June 1975.
“This is the first state visit for President Marcos Jr. in 2023 immediately right after the New Year. And it also strengthens the relationship between Philippine-China relations, why? Because it is a commemoration of the continuing relationships since the time of President Marcos Sr. when in 1975, we started the official diplomatic relationships with China. And since then, everything goes so smoothly,” Lim said.
“But for sure, with this state visit, we can look forward that it will deepen the cooperation and also not only on the economic side but also for other factors,” she added.
Lim said the three-day state visit would broaden cooperation through bilateral agreements in agriculture, infrastructure, development cooperation, maritime security and tourism, among others.
The FFCCCII, she said, has contributed by working closely with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to invite foreign investment.
“Foreign investment will create jobs. So, agricultural, we have so much land area in the country; and improved our agriculture and technology and also on marketing and other conditions in keeping agriculture to be on the front line. Because agriculture is the basic need of our country,” she said.
Marcos has 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 country 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)