Great expectations are set as President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. leaves for China today for a three-day state visit. These will be days wherein Manila and Beijing will be building stronger ties with trade and investment as well as, hopefully, successfully addressing the security issues that have been in constant controversy even before PBBM started his term in office as the Philippine President.
During the visit, the agenda will include about 10 to 14 bilateral agreements that are expected to be signed. This was advised by the assistant secretary for Asian and Public affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Both countries will be diving into agreements that will be circling around mutual cooperation that are involved in matters of such areas as trade and investments, agriculture, renewable energy, infrastructure, development cooperation, people-to-people ties and maritime security cooperation.
Imperial noted further during an earlier Palace briefing, “The state visit is also expected to reaffirm the cordial and neighbourly 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.”
The second time may bring the charm
PBBM will be with first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos as well as accompanied by an influential political figure, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo along with 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.
PBBM will be arriving in Beijing by tonight and activities will immediately begin on Wednesday. Meetings will be in quick succession 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.
Soon after the day’s round of meetings, Xi will then host a state banquet for his Philippine counterpart.
It’s an interesting story to mention that back in September 1974, PBBM, 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.
You might also want to read: PBBM: Maharlika investment fund was his idea
The touchy tides of the West Philippine Sea
This isn’t the first time that the two leaders, PBBM and Xi, are meeting. The first time they met was back in November during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
One has to notice the considerably “sizable” business delegation that accompanies the President on this 3-day state visit to China. Imperial addressed that this is essential for there are going to be business deals during the meetings on Wednesday and Thursday and are expected to be signed by PBBM.
Imperial further digressed, “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.”
The agenda for the state visit also includes the compelling issue of the West Philippine Sea.
There is an assurance from Imperial that both leaders have agreed to there will be an accord that will be establishing direct communication between foreign ministries to avoid “miscalculation and miscommunication” that revolves around the West Philippine Sea. Noting that the agreement will be signed by Manalo and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.
It looks like the 3-day visit will focus more on what both governments can do for each other to benefit both countries. This is a good event, without a doubt. But the issue of the West Philippine Sea is still being approached as a subject that cannot be directly addressed head-on by the leaders themselves. Both countries in doing so are also showing how the diplomatic way is being chosen as the path to somehow reach a proper way to resolve things. Or is this just buying time to avoid a volatile conflict? Any thoughts on this? Just comment down below and give us your thoughts, reaction, and insights on this, too.