Welcome to visiting China foreign minister 

Published January 14, 2021, 11:58 PM

by Manila Bulletin

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.