Marcos said he was the one who requested a meeting with his Chinese counterpart.
Marcos said he and Xi tried to come up with a mechanism to lower the tension in the disputed waters.
Marcos meets with Xi; discussions on WPS row a ‘work in progress’
At a glance
President Marcos said the discussions about the tensions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) are a “work in progress” following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Marcos said this following his pull-aside meeting with the Chinese leader on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco on Friday, Nov. 17 (Manila time).
In an interview with reporters on Friday, Marcos revealed that he was the one who requested a meeting with his Chinese counterpart.
According to the Chief Executive, he voiced his concerns about the incidents between the Filipino and Chinese vessels but added that the discussion on the West Philippine Sea row is a "work in progress.”
The President added that he and President Xi tried to come up with a mechanism to lower the tension in the disputed waters.
“I voiced to him my concern on some of the incidents that were happening between Chinese vessels and Philippine vessels, culminating in an actual collision as we have seen before, and hopefully to find ways to avoid that and ways to move forward from this situation,” Marcos said.
He likewise told Xi that he wanted to go back to the situation where “Filipinos and the Chinese were fishing together.”
Both leaders likewise agreed that the issue on the disputed waters should not define the relationship between the Philippines and China.
“We were in agreement that the problems that we have in South China Sea with China should not be the defining element of our relationship,” Marcos said.
“But, nonetheless, the problems remain and it is something that we need to continue to communicate, to find ways to avoid such incidents,” he added.
Marcos’ meeting with Xi came a day after he met US Vice President Kamala Harris on the sidelines of the APEC meeting.
The President said he wanted to get Xi’s view of the ongoing tension and discuss what can be done “to bring down the temperature, to not escalate the situation in the West Philippine Sea.”
“And we will put all of these together so as we’ll be able to strategize for the near future on what the Philippines’ role will be or what is the proper Philippines’ role in the West Philippine Sea,” he said on Friday, Nov. 17 (Manila time).
There were recent tensions between the Philippine and Chinese coast guards in the West Philippine Sea, which included the Chinese ships ramming and firing water cannons on Philippine vessels on a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre in the Ayungin Shoal, located within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has said that regular resupply missions to Ayungin Shoal are legitimate activities, and it will not give prior notification to China.
US Vice President Harris discussed the issue with President Marcos during their meeting on Thursday and asked for the Philippines’ assessment of the situation in the West Philippines Sea, as the country is exerting all efforts to maintain peace in the region.
“She was very interested to know what our assessment was on the situation in the West Philippines Sea, and I just went through the narrative of … what had happened in the past few months,” Marcos said.
“We tried to discuss some of the ways forward, and I think that generally speaking, especially after my meeting with President Xi, which I’m going to have some time today. After that, we will put together the ways forward," he added.
According to Marcos, the Philippines tries to maintain peace in the region with the help of the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine military, and the entire government.