Marcos says talk with China shouldn't just be about West Philippine Sea

Published July 5, 2022, 4:38 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The dispute over the West Philippine Sea is not the only thing that the Philippines and China should talk about, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Tuesday.

Marcos made the pronouncement as he confirmed his upcoming meeting with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the first foreign delegate he will meet in his presidency.

While he said he would find ways to resolve conflicts over the WPS, Marcos said, the Philippines must also build a relationship with China in terms of other things, such as cultural and educational exchanges and “even military if that will be useful.”

“Yes, I will meet with him, and the agenda I’m sure will be to strengthen ties between China and the Philippines,” Marcos told reporters in a briefing held after his first meeting with his Cabinet members.

“We would like for us to increase the scope. ‘Wag lang ‘yung West Philippine Sea ang pinag-uusapan ng China at Pilipinas (China and the Philippines should not just talk about the West Philippine Sea). Let’s do other things too that will normalize our relationship,” he added.

Marcos also called on the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation “to be active members” in terms of “trying to find ways to improve relationships” because they, being “stakeholders,” are important players in regional geopolitics.