Marcos wants PH-China talks to go beyond the West Philippine Sea issue

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 5) — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday confirmed that he will meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi soon “to find ways to work, to resolve the conflicts we have.”

China’s top diplomat will arrive in Manila late Tuesday for a two-day visit. However, there is no schedule yet for the meeting.

The newly minted president said that he does not want the talks between the two governments to revolve only around the West Philippine Sea row.

“The agenda, I’m sure, will be to strengthen ties between China and the Philippines. And of course, to find ways to work, to resolve the conflicts that we have,” said Marcos during a press briefing.

“One of the ways that I consistently suggested is that we have a relationship not only on one dimension, ‘yun lang West Philippine Sea. Let’s add to that. Let’s have cultural exchanges, educational exchanges, and even military if that will be useful,” he added.

Marcos, who took his oath as the 17th president of the country on June 30, earlier said that he would talk to China "consistently with a firm voice" about the two countries' territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

READ: Marcos: PH to assert WPS arbitral ruling, talk to China with firm voice

However, Marcos said that going to war against China was not option, echoing the stance of his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte.

An international arbitral tribunal in The Hague affirmed the Philippines’ sovereign rights in the disputed waters of the South China Sea in 2016, but the Chinese government has consistently refused to recognize the ruling.