Chinese FM to visit Manila for joint exploration talks

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday announced that Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to visit Manila to discuss the joint exploration between China and the Philippines.

In a statement sent by DFA Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato, the agency said Wang’s trip from Sept. 16 to 18 was upon the invitation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

The two parties are expected to continue discussions on oil and gas cooperation, with the end view of coming up with a framework of cooperation that conforms to respective rules and regulations and international laws.

Cayetano earlier expressed hope that the framework agreement could be signed in September ahead of the expected visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines in November.

“With continued dialogue and consultation anchored on mutual trust and respect, and the resolute pursuit of mutually beneficial practical cooperation, Philippines and China will continue to work together in managing differences and addressing issues pertaining to the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, Cayetano said Wang’s visit is a demonstration that Manila and Beijing’s ties are becoming “solid and steady”.

“The Philippines and China are both committed to continue on the path of cooperation, all the while ensuring that the Filipino and the Chinese peoples will reap the dividends of our mutual efforts,” he said.

The agency underscored that the Chinese top diplomat’s trip is aimed at further building on the “increasingly strong foundation of friendship between the Philippines and China.”

It added this will further provide both sides an opportunity to take stock of infrastructure projects under the Philippine government’s flagship “Build, Build, Build” program.