We welcome the visit to the Philippines today of China’s Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi. It comes in the wake of the welcome news that the Philippines will be receiving 25 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine, with the first shipment of 50,000 doses coming next month.
He and Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. are expected to meet on “ways to accelerate mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, including investments, infrastructure developments, and coronavirus response,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
The visit shows the “sustained high-level engagement” between China and the Philippines, the DFA added. “It also symbolizes the determination and steady progress of both sides towards gradually reopening their societies and economies.”
The visit is the latest under the Duterte administration, known for its close and warm relations with China despite their dispute in the South China Sea. Secretary Locsin visited China in October, 2020.
China has scored great success in its “all-around diplomacy” that has helped the world maintain its peaceful milieu through turbulent times. It has brought innovative concepts to global diplomacy, advocating global realignment to a 21st-century multipolar world to replace the largely unipolar world of the 20th century and pursuing “win-win relations” with its vision of a “community of a shared future for mankind.”
The rise of China has been seen as a threat by some major powers alleging Chinese assertiveness and even aggressiveness. The mainstream reaction of the global community, however, has been largely appreciative of China’s all-around diplomacy, especially from the economic perspective, and its policy of ”non-interference in internal affairs.”
The Philippines led by President Duterte has developed close ties with China and we welcome the announcement by presidential spokesman Harry Roque last Monday that China is shipping an initial 50,000 doses of its Sinovac vaccine next month, to be followed by 950,000 doses in March, a million doses in April, a million in May, and two million in June.
Before this, we had expected our first vaccines to come from the United States only in May, with further shipments expected in the third quarter of the year. Forty-two countries have already begun mass vaccinations , the World Health Organization said the other day — 36 high-income and six-middle-income ones – and the Philippines is not among these nations.
But we hope to launch our own mass vaccinations soon. We may have more good news with the visit of China Foreign Minister Wang Yi whom we welcome today.