BSP chief: 'Strong' PH-US ties don't mean less trade with China

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 23) — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s commitment to bolster ties with the United States will not impact the country’s trade relations with China, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said late Thursday (Manila time).

"It does not necessarily follow that the strong relationship with the Philippines and United States means less trade and investments from China, okay? Because that itself is a natural force in its own right," BSP Governor Felipe Medalla said in a press conference in New York.

Prior to the press conference, Marcos highlighted at the Philippine economic briefing the "long, strong, and enduring" ties between Manila and Washington in trade, commerce, and all other aspects of the relationship.

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"For instance, if tourism gets revived, we're certainly going to see more Chinese tourists than Americans by sheer distance and numbers. Okay. So, do not see it as the Philippines is choosing one or the other," Medalla said.

"It's a degree of change probably more related to defense and security than the economy," the central bank chief added.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, for his part, said further deepening Philippine-US ties will "help boost our ability to achieve our economic goals."

The chief executive's stance is in stark contrast to that of his predecessor, former President Rodrigo Duterte, who pivoted to China and Russia and publicly lambasted the US following Washington's criticisms against his deadly war on drugs.

During his address before the United Nations General Assembly, Marcos said the Philippines is a "friend to all and enemy to none" as he urged UN member nations to resolve disputes "through reason and right" amid tensions in the West 

Marcos, who is on a six-day working visit to the US beginning Sept. 18, had a bilateral meeting with his American counterpart Joe Biden on the UNGA sidelines. The South China Sea was among the topics they discussed.