Top China diplomat Wang Yi to visit Philippines

Paterno Esmaquel II
Top China diplomat Wang Yi to visit Philippines
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is making a rare official trip to the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will make a rare trip to the Philippines next week, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs announced Friday, July 21.

In a media advisory, the DFA said Wang will join a bilateral meeting, a signing ceremony, and a news conference at the Shangri-La at The Fort hotel in Taguig City on Tuesday, July 25.

Wang is flying to the Philippines 3 weeks after his Filipino counterpart, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, visited Beijing to hold talks with him.

His trip to the Philippines also comes nearly two weeks after the Philippines on July 12 marked the first anniversary of its legal victory against China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), which President Rodrigo Duterte downplays to boost economic ties with China. (READ: Rally world around Hague ruling, experts tell PH)

Wang, 63, has been Chinese foreign minister since 2013, when the Philippines under then president Benigno Aquino III filed its historic case against China at The Hague.

In June 2013, Wang reportedly had “testy exchanges” with then Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario during a closed-door Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Brunei.

Del Rosario invited Wang to the Philippines after this June 2013 meeting, but the Chinese diplomat did not come until November 2015, but for a working and not an official visit. This was a week before Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in the Philippines.

In an official visit, a foreign official is invited to the Philippines, with the costs usually shouldered by the host country.

In a working visit, no invitation is needed, and the host country does not pay for the visitor’s expenses. – Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.