China Relies on Marcos for West Philippine Sea Issue, Says Ambassador

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The Chinese ambassador to Manila, Huang Xilian, has stated that China will follow the position of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. regarding the handling of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue, rather than any Filipino officials. Ambassador Huang made this statement in response to Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro’s condemnation of the China Coast Guard’s harassment of Filipino fishermen in the Scarborough Shoal.

During the launch of the Chinese Embassy’s new visa center in Makati City, Ambassador Huang emphasized the importance of following the guidance of the President. He also echoed the statement of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, welcoming Marcos’ reaffirmation of the Philippines’ One China policy and clarification that he did not endorse Taiwan independence when congratulating new Taiwan leader Lai Ching-te.

Highlighting the bilateral consultation mechanism (BCM) meeting held in Shanghai in 2023, Ambassador Huang mentioned that both China and the Philippines agreed to handle maritime disputes through friendly consultation. He expressed hope that both sides would meet halfway to de-escalate tensions in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea.

The establishment of the new visa center aligns with the guidance and consensus of the heads of state of both countries, who met early last year. People-to-people exchange is one of the four priority areas agreed upon, and the center aims to promote further interactions between the two nations.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that during the Shanghai meeting, the Philippines and China discussed diplomatic approaches to address tensions in the South China Sea. The DFA stated that both sides had frank and productive discussions, agreeing to handle incidents through diplomacy.

The BCM was held following the agreement between President Marcos and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum in the United States. The goal was to ease and manage tensions in the South China Sea. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its support for the reunification of China and Taiwan, emphasizing that Taiwan is an integral part of China’s territory.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Wang Wenbin, stated that any attempt to seek Taiwan independence is doomed to failure. He stressed that realizing complete reunification in China aligns with global opinion trends and the arc of history.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel 3rd cautioned President Marcos against making foreign policy statements on China and Taiwan, as the Philippines adheres to the One China policy. Pimentel’s remarks came in response to China’s warning to the Philippines “not to play with fire” after Marcos congratulated Lai on his election as Taiwan’s next leader.

In conclusion, Ambassador Huang’s statement regarding China’s reliance on President Marcos Jr.’s position on the West Philippine Sea issue showcases the importance of following the guidance of the head of state. The bilateral consultation mechanism meetings and discussions between China and the Philippines aim to de-escalate tensions and address incidents through diplomatic means. The establishment of the new visa center further promotes people-to-people exchanges between the two nations. However, it is essential for the Philippines to adhere to the One China policy to maintain a harmonious relationship with China.

Source: The Manila Times

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