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Wang Yi: Adhering to Good-neighborly and Friendly Cooperation Is the Only Correct Choice Conforming to the Interests of China and the Philippines

On June 29, 2017, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano of the Philippines jointly met the press after their talks in Beijing.

Wang Yi welcomed Alan Peter Cayetano's first official visit to China as Foreign Secretary and expressed that I just had a warm and friendly talk with Alan Peter Cayetano, and exchanged in-depth views on China-Philippines cooperation, relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the maintenance of regional security and stability, reaching numerous important consensus.

We both agreed that since China-Philippines relations returned to the right track in last October, bilateral relations have entered into a golden period of rapid development. The two countries have constantly deepened political mutual trust and comprehensively conducted cooperation in various fields. What I would like to tell you all is that just in the short time of the past half a year, the two sides have signed 22 cooperation documents in infrastructure, economy, trade, agriculture, energy, drug control, tourism and other fields, as well as confirmed a batch of preferential cooperation projects in infrastructure including railway, dam and bridge. With the rapid growth in trade between the two countries, it is the first time that China has become the largest trading partner of the Philippines and the Philippine export volume to China has increased sharply. Taking tropical fruits about which the Philippines deeply care as an example, China has imported as many as 420,000 tons in over seven months. In addition, the improvement of China-Philippines relations has removed obstacles for personnel exchanges between the two countries. In the first quarter of this year, Chinese tourists traveling to the Philippines registered a 30 percent year-on-year growth, bringing considerable income for Philippine tourism industry. These concrete cooperation examples and statistics fully demonstrate that the cooperation consensus reached by the two heads of state is rapidly transforming into concrete achievements that enhance the well-being of the two peoples. Adhering to good neighborly and friendly cooperation is the only correct choice that conforms to the interests of both sides.

We both agreed to strengthen communication and cooperation between China and the Philippines in the joint construction of the "Belt and Road". As an important pivot of the ancient "Maritime Silk Road", the Philippines has a unique geographical position. The Chinese side welcomes the Philippines to play a more active and important role in the process of the joint construction of the "Belt and Road". Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte came to China to personally attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which fully demonstrated the strong support of the Philippine side to the initiative. China is willing to take the opportunity of the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" to further strengthen the integration of development strategies and deepen cooperation in various fields with the Philippines, in a bid to achieve greater development of bilateral relations under the "Belt and Road" framework.

We also agreed to continue to properly handle maritime issues through bilateral friendly consultations, make full use of the established bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue and the cooperation mechanism between coast guards, as well as strengthen maritime dialogue and cooperation. Meanwhile, we will constantly enhance mutual trust, jointly control disputes, and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, so as to promote the sustained, sound and stable development of bilateral relations.

Wang Yi noted that the Philippines is the rotating presidency of the ASEAN this year and China is ASEAN's most solid supporter and the most active participant in East Asian cooperation. Both sides agreed that China and the ASEAN should well formulate the medium and long-term development of bilateral relations, promote the upgrade of China-ASEAN practical cooperation, create an "upgraded version" of strategic partnership with higher level, deeper connotation and broader influence, and build a closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny. Meanwhile, China and the ASEAN should also promote the sound and stable development of the mechanisms between the ASEAN and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, East Asia Summit, and other mechanisms, and complete the negotiations on the "Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement" as soon as possible. China will fully support the Philippines in assuming the rotating presidency of the ASEAN and well holding a series of meetings of East Asian cooperation this year, so as to constantly push forward China-ASEAN relations and East Asian cooperation.

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