Bongbong Marcos off to China for 3-day state visit
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.is off to China today for a three-day state visit during which Manila and Beijing are expected to bolster trade and investment ties and address security issues of mutual concern.
About 10 to 14 bilateral agreements are expected to be signed during the visit, according to Neal Imperial, assistant secretary for Asian and public affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The expected agreements are regarding cooperation on such areas as trade and investments, agriculture, renewable energy, infrastructure, development cooperation, people-to-people ties and maritime security cooperation.
“The state visit is also expected to reaffirm the cordial and neighborly relations between the two countries, ensure continuity in many facets of the bilateral relationship and chart new areas of engagement. It is also expected to build on the growing trade and investment ties between the two economies as well as address security issues of mutual concern,” Imperial said at a Palace briefing last week.
The President will be accompanied by first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Speaker Martin Romualdez, Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Tourism Secretary Ma. Cristina Frasco, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy and other department chiefs.
Mr. Marcos is expected to arrive in Beijing tonight. His activities begin on Wednesday, with successive meetings with Li Zhanshu, chair of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, as well as with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and President Xi Jinping.
Xi will then host a state banquet for his Philippine counterpart.
This will also be the second meeting between the two leaders after their meeting in Thailand last November on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
In September 1974, Mr. Marcos, then a teenager, accompanied his mother, then first lady Imelda Marcos, during her diplomatic and trade mission to Beijing where she met Chinese leaders Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.
West Philippine Sea
The visit led to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China in June 1975, with Mr. Marcos’ father and namesake visiting Beijing that month.
Imperial said a “sizable” business delegation will join the President in his trip, with meetings to be held on Wednesday and Thursday. Business deals, he said, are expected to be signed during Mr. Marcos’ visit.
“China is a very important economic partner of the Philippines, so one of the main focuses of this visit is really to foster stronger economic cooperation,” Imperial said.
Mr. Marcos is also expected to raise anew the issue of the West Philippine Sea.
Imperial said Manila and Beijing have agreed to sign an accord establishing direct communication between their foreign ministries to avoid “miscalculation and miscommunication” in the West Philippine Sea.
The agreement will be signed by Manalo and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. INQ