China, Philippines vow to enhance good-neighborly friendship, deepen cooperation

MANILA, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Philippine Foreign Secretary Luis Enrique Manalo agreed here on Wednesday that their countries will further enhance friendship and mutual trust, adhere to good-neighborliness and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation.

Noting that Wang is the first foreign minister to visit the Southeast Asian country after the new Philippine government was inaugurated on June 30, Manalo said the Philippines and China are good neighbors, who have seen fruitful results in their cooperation in various areas.

In facing the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in the regional and international situation, the two countries have stood side by side with mutual understanding and support, bringing benefits to the two peoples, he noted.

The Philippines will continue its adherence to the one-China policy and hopes to increase mutual trust and friendship, so as to elevate bilateral relations to a higher level, Manalo said.

The Philippines believes that the problem involving islands and reefs in the South China Sea should be settled through diplomatic means and peaceful consultations with a view to jointly safeguarding peace and stability there, he said.

Wang, for his part, said that the only right path for the relations between the two countries is to adhere to good-neighborliness and friendship and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation.

Recent years have witnessed bilateral ties enjoying an all-round development and cooperation making strides in various fields under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples, he said.

China highly appreciates the remarks by Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos that China is a strong partner of the Philippines and his administration will continue a friendly policy towards China to further boost bilateral relations, Wang said.

At this new starting point, Wang said, China is willing to work with the Philippines to jointly plan for the future cooperation so as to lift their friendship to a new high.

Wang said the two sides should always properly handle the maritime issues from a strategic and overarching perspective, giving the issues a proper position in bilateral relations.

The two sides should also work to steadily advance the joint development in the South China Sea, accelerate consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, expand maritime cooperation to increase mutual benefit and win-win results, he said.

During the meeting, the two sides agreed to sustain a high-quality construction of the Belt and Road and secure more early results.

They also vowed to strengthen the China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) relations, jointly safeguard the regional architecture with ASEAN at its center, implement the important consensus reached at the China-ASEAN Special summit late last year, and push for a deeper and more solid China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership.

In addition, both sides pledged to strengthen coordination and cooperation in multilateral affairs, jointly defend the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, and jointly promote regional peace, development and prosperity.

After their meeting, Wang and Manalo officially launched the Davao City-Samal Island connector bridge project and witnessed the signing of cooperation documents.