DFA chief urges Fil-Chinese community to support diplomatic efforts with China to manage differences

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 28) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo called on the Filipino-Chinese community to support the Philippines’ diplomatic efforts in preserving peaceful and constructive relations with China.

“I urge the Filipino-Chinese community to support our diplomatic efforts to enhance our ties with China and to manage our differences,” Manalo said during the re-opening ceremony of Bahay Tsinoy Museum in Intramuros, Manila on Monday, August 28.

Manalo was the guest speaker at the event, wherein he reflected on the important role of the Filipino-Chinese community in forging stronger relations with Beijing. The DFA chief also stressed that “diplomacy is really about relations between and among people.”

“In order to preserve the peaceful and constructive relations between the Philippines and China, and the friendly and cooperative spirit between our nations and peoples, looking back at our past and studying how our communities evolved through the centuries-old interactions between our peoples should inspire us to continue advocating for peace and cooperation,” Manalo added.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian also attended the event.

“China and the Philippines are neighbors joined by a narrow strip of water,” Huang said in his speech. “Throughout the long history of our interaction, the vast amount of Chinese in the Philippines have made indelible contributions to the economic and cultural prosperity of the Philippines and hence have become an important part of the Philippine history.”

The ambassador recounted the hardships and the history of overseas Chinese who went to the Philippines, highlighting their contributions to the country's economic recovery, industrial revitalization, and improvement of people's livelihood.

Huang also spoke about how Chinese and Filipinos had resisted aggressors in the past, mentioning the Wha-Chi Movement, a group of Chinese and Filipinos that the Japanese persecuted during the Second World War.

“This is a history of shared destiny and friendship. Throughout the long history of the Filipino people's resistance against colonial powers and aggressors, Chinese and local Filipinos have stood shoulder to shoulder,” the Chinese envoy added.

Manalo and Huang attended the event almost a week after the Philippines successfully completed its resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal.

Manila vows to continue the resupply efforts but Beijing, on the other hand, maintains that only ‘humanitarian missions’ will be allowed.

The Philippines and China have agreed to “peacefully” manage tensions and said that the South China Sea issue is not the sum of the overall bilateral relations of the two countries.