MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he is hopeful that efforts to revive discussions on the joint oil exploration between China and the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) would soon bear fruit.
“I would very much like, as you have suggested, Mr. President, to be able to announce that we are continuing negotiations and that we hope that these negotiations will bear fruit because the pressure upon not only China, not only the Philippines but the rest of the world to move away from the traditional fronts of power," Marcos told Xi in a bilateral meeting between the two leaders in Beijing.
Talks on the joint exploration of oil and gas between the two countries were “completely terminated” during the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte due to China’s claim on the disputed territorial waters.
Marcos earlier said he remained hopeful that talks would continue but bared that his administration is also finding other ways to pursue oil exploration should government-to-government discussions fail.
Meanwhile, Marcos told Xi that strengthening Philippine-China ties is crucial in making the two countries stable and strong and keeping the region a driving force behind the new global economy.
He noted that the two countries had already established many partnerships in different areas of society, economy, culture and people-to-people exchanges in 50 years.
"We are hoping that after the pandemic becomes more manageable, that we will not only return to the path that we were on before the pandemic but that we even build-up to greater heights… [in] our participation in joint programs and joint ventures together," Marcos said.
"...That this is one of my main goals that I hope to achieve as we are here in China and meeting with you, Your Excellency. We hope to achieve to further that relationship that we have," he added.
For his part, Xi affirmed his commitment to work with Marcos in boosting Manila-Beijing relations and vowed to extend assistance to the Philippines in various areas such as in agriculture, energy and infrastructure.
"Mr. President, your current trip is a trip to honor history, but more importantly, it is to open up the future. I look forward to having discussions with you to carry forward the friendship and further promote [our] bilateral relationship," Xi said.
"Together, let's deepen cooperation and draw out a blueprint with China-Philippines cooperation in the new era. This way, we will bring more benefits to our people and contribute to peace and stability in the region," he added.
China has been the Philippines' major trading partner, posting a total trade of USD29.1 billion from January to September 2022. (PNA)