After 2 years, China’s top diplomat agrees to visit PH

MANILA, Philippines – Two years after his Filipino counterpart invited him to the Philippines, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to visit Manila on Tuesday, November 10, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

“The Philippines looks forward to welcoming Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his working visit to the Philippines on November 10, 2015, upon the invitation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario,” the DFA said in a statement.

Wang will arrive at the DFA in Pasay City at 8:25 am on Tuesday to sign the DFA guestbook and have photos taken with Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario. 

Wang will visit the Philippines a week before Chinese President Xi Jinping also arrives in the Southeast Asian country

Xi will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in the Philippines upon the invitation of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III.

‘Testy exchanges’ in Brunei

The trips of Wang and Xi come as the Philippines and China remain embroiled in a dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). 

Weeks before their trips, the Philippines won the first round of its case against China before an arbitral tribunal based in The Hague, Netherlands.

Wang’s visit to Manila is, in itself, a significant event.

This is because two years ago, Del Rosario already invited Wang to the Philippines after “testy exchanges” reportedly between the two of them. This was during a closed-door meeting in an Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum in Brunei.

Back then, Reuters reported a “departure from the usual diplomatic niceties” on Del Rosario’s part. 

During the meeting, Reuters said, “Del Rosario was not scheduled to speak, but after hearing Wang's speech at Sunday's closed-door meeting in the kingdom of Brunei, he raised his hand and proceeded to rebut China's allegations one by one, according to Philippine diplomats.” – Rappler.com

Paterno R. 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.

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