China marks 73rd national day, urges PH to ‘preserve friendship’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 26) — China is optimistic that the bilateral ties between Manila and Beijing will reach a “golden era” under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

In a speech during the celebration of the 73rd Founding Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China on Monday, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said the relationship of the two countries are now at a new “starting point."

The envoy said there was a consensus made between the two leaders, which will serve as a “blueprint of cooperation.”

“We are ready to work with the Philippines to implement the consensus reached by President Xi and President Marcos Jr. to follow through on the blueprint for cooperation,” Ambassador Huang said.

“We should preserve the friendship between China and the Philippines. This is not only the common aspiration of the two peoples, but also the inevitable choice for common development,” the envoy added.

China also wants to enhance cooperation with the Philippines in four key areas: agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and people-to-people exchanges.

China to PH: Put our differences in a ‘proper place’

The Chinese envoy also recommended ways on how the Philippines and China can handle disputes, which he said should be through peaceful solutions and friendly consultations.

In the same speech, Ambassador Huang also urged the Philippines to “remove interference” on PH-China ties, though he did not elaborate on these challenges.

“We should properly handle differences to remove interference from China-Philippines relations. We are neighbors that cannot be moved away and have every reason to live together peacefully,” Ambassador Huang said.

“We should put our differences in a proper place and seek peaceful solutions through friendly consultations so that our overall relations will not be affected,” he added.

Both the Philippines and China have a longstanding maritime dispute in the South China Sea. Manila won an arbitration case in 2016 which rejected Beijing’s sweeping historical claims in the area. China insists the arbitral ruling is “illegal, null, and void.”

During his recent visit to the United States, President Marcos said the country has no “territorial dispute” with China.

"I think it's no surprise to anyone that the Philippines has some of these conflicts with the People's Republic of China. And the position that the Philippines takes is that we have no territorial conflict with China. What we have is China claiming territory that belongs to the Philippines," Marcos said.

The chief executive also added that the maritime dispute will not define the overall relations between the two countries.

"We will continue to work with China and other claimant states with an end in view of resolving the issues involving the West Philippine Sea through diplomacy and dialogue,” he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs previously disclosed that the country has filed around 388 diplomatic protests against China under the Duterte administration while 48 protests have been filed under the Marcos administration.

In a Senate hearing, DFA Assistant Secretary Maria Ponce said the protests were about the “illegal presence of foreign maritime militia vessels, illegal fishing, harassment of our fishermen and unauthorized marine scientific research.”