Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Manila for a one-day Working Visit upon the invitation of Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario today. The two officials discussed the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders Meeting next week in Manila.
“Foreign Minister Wang expressed China’s support for the Philippines in hosting APEC this year and said China will work with the Philippines for the success of this important event. Secretary del Rosario said the Philippines looks forward to welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping to Manila for APEC,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
The DFA added that Secretary del Rosario expressed hope Foreign Minister Wang’s visit is an opportunity for both sides to revisit the agreement between President Benigno S. Aquino III and then Chinese President Hu Jintao in 2011 that contentious issues can be segregated from the rest of the bilateral relations. Foreign Minister Wang expressed his view that both sides can take steps to contribute to the improvement of bilateral relations and said China values its relationship with the Philippines.
“They expressed hope that contentious issues (West Philippine Sea issue) will not be raised and we said we will endeavor on our side,” DFA spokesperson Charles Jose said. He said that the main purpose of the Chinese official’s visit is to discuss APEC preparations and ensure Chinese President Xi Jinping’s attendance will be successful and smooth.
Jose added that Philippines is not raising the West Philippine Sea issue first and foremost because of the pending case before the Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration and it is preferred not to discuss the case publicly. The Tribunal sets November 24 to 30 for the hearing of merits of the said case.
“Secondly, APEC is not the proper forum to discuss the issue,” Jose said.