The Philippine and Chinese governments have reaffirmed the “continuing vitality” of their bilateral relations amid the constraints posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The reaffirmation was made during the official visit of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. to China where he met with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
“The two Foreign Ministers held a bilateral meeting to take stock of priority political and economic bilateral cooperation initiatives. Both sides reaffirmed the continuing vitality of relations despite the constraints imposed by Covid-19, and pledged to forge ahead with sustained policy dialogues, as well as economic and infrastructure cooperation projects,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Saturday.
Wang, for his part, affirmed China’s commitment to supporting the Duterte administration’s infrastructure drive under the “Build, Build, Build” program.
The two top diplomats likewise had a “candid” and “in-depth” exchange on regional security concerns, as well as issues of mutual interest in the context of ASEAN-China relations in which the Philippines acts as China coordinator, as well as in broader multilateral fora. ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
At the meeting’s close, Locsin and Wang also confirmed the prospective establishment of a fast lane to facilitate the movement of essential official exchanges and travel by personnel in crucial industries such as business and trade, infrastructure, logistics, production, and technical services.
Locsin is in China from October 9 to 11, his first official trip overseas since February 2020. Wang received the Filipino top diplomat and his entourage in Tengchong City, in the southern province of Yunnan.
Joining Locsin are his wife Ma. Lourdes Locsin and several DFA officials, including Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre, Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana, Chief of Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje, Philippine Embassy-Beijing Minister Raphael Hermoso, Special Assistant Shiena Escoto-Tesorero, Embassy Third Secretary and Vice Consul Jet Olfato, and Asian and Pacific Affairs Principal Assistant Emilio Lopue Jr.