AP

Philippine leader cites stable ties on visit to Beijing

Jan 4, 2023, 1:12 AM | Updated: 9:45 pm

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Visiting Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., l...

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Visiting Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping listen to the national anthems of their countries on stage during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is pushing for closer economic ties on a visit to China that seeks to sidestep territorial disputes in the South China Sea. (Yue Yuewei/Xinhua via AP)

(Yue Yuewei/Xinhua via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has cited stable ties with China during a visit to Beijing in which he has sought to downplay territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

After being hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, both nations are seeking to recharge investments in bridges and other projects, along with tourism and agriculture.

Disputes linger however over islands and waters in the strategic South China Sea, which Beijing claims virtually in its entirety.

In a video address released by his office Wednesday, Marcos said the sides discussed “what we can do to move forward, to avoid possible mistakes, misunderstandings that could trigger a bigger problem than what we already have.”

Marcos said he made the case for Filipino fishermen who have been denied access to their traditional areas of operation by China’s navy and coast guard.

“The president promised that we would find a compromise and find a solution that will be beneficial so that our fishermen might be able to fish again in their natural fishing grounds,” Marcos said.

A joint statement issued Thursday said Xi and Marcos had an “in-depth and candid exchange of views on the situation in the South China Sea, emphasized that maritime issues do not comprise the sum-total of relations between the two countries and agreed to appropriately manage differences through peaceful means,” according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

“Both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace and stability in the region and the freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea,” the statement added.

Accompanied by a large business delegation, Marcos presided at meetings Thursday seeking to finalize trade and investment deals. China accounts for 20% of the Philippines’ foreign trade and is also a major source of foreign direct investment.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said that both sides “agreed to handle maritime issues properly through friendly consultation” and resume talks on oil and gas exploration.

Xi named agriculture, infrastructure, energy and culture as four key areas of cooperation. He said that China is willing to assist in agriculture and rural development in the Philippines and in infrastructure and connectivity projects, Xinhua reported.

Marcos received a commitment from Xi to address the Philippines’ trade deficit with China, his office said. The two sides are finalizing rules for imports of fruits from the Philippines, which Marcos said would start to balance the trade.

The Philippine leader said he also looked forward to the return of Chinese tourists once the COVID-19 situation in China settles. Last year, only about 9,500 Chinese visited the Philippines, down from about 1.6 million before the pandemic.

In comments to the head of China’s ceremonial legislature, Li Zhanshu, Marcos said the two countries “be able to face the challenges and the different shocks that now we are already beginning to feel and will be continue to feel in the next few years.”

Beijing has ignored a 2016 ruling by a tribunal in The Hague brought by the Philippines that invalidated Beijing’s claims to the waterway.

China has since developed disputed reefs into artificial islands with airplane runways and other structures so they now resemble forward military bases.

Most recently, a Filipino military commander reported that the Chinese coast guard forcibly seized Chinese rocket debris that Philippine navy personnel had retrieved in the South China Sea last month.

China denied the forcible seizure, saying the Filipino sailors willingly handed over the debris. Marcos did not say whether he had raised the issue in his meetings with Chinese leaders.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

1 day ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

3 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

10 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

11 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

12 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Philippine leader cites stable ties on visit to Beijing