Biden, Xi congratulate Marcos, hopeful for stronger ties

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 12)— The leaders of two powerhouse nations have recognized the electoral victory of the Philippines’ presidential race apparent winner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. ahead of official proclamation.

United States President Joe Biden personally called Marcos on Thursday to congratulate him on his election, the White House said.

Biden is also anticipating improved ties and cooperation on different issues, including human rights, it added.

"President Biden underscored that he looks forward to working with the President-elect to continue strengthening the U.S.-Philippine Alliance, while expanding bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues, including the fight against COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, promoting broad-based economic growth, and respect for human rights," the White House statement read.

Marcos, for his part, invited Biden to his inauguration.

“I have also invited President Biden to my inaugural on June 30, which could further fortify the relationship of the two countries,” Marcos said in a statement.

Marcos faces the risk of being required to appear in court if he enters the U.S. to explain his non-compliance to a class suit ruling against his family in favor of martial law victims. Refusal to attend could result in his detention for contempt of court.

Xi ‘delighted’

Chinese President Xi Jinping likewise congratulated Marcos, saying he was “delighted” upon learning the initial poll results.

In a note sent to Marcos – a copy of which was shared by the candidate’s camp to the media – Xi said he is “ready to build a good working relationship” with the new Philippine leadership and continue to work on deepening bilateral ties.

The nearly completed, unofficial tally of the Commission on Elections showed the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos garnering an unprecedented vote of more than 31 million.

His archrival, Vice President Leni Robredo, came in at far second with 14.8 million votes.