China top diplomat to visit PH for joint exploration talks

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit the Philippines from September 16 to 18 to discuss with Filipino officials the proposed joint exploration of the West Philippine Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced.

Wang, who is also Chinese state councilor, will undertake this official visit at the invitation of his counterpart, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. Wang's trip runs from Sunday to Tuesday next week.

The DFA said that during Wang's trip, the Philippines and China will also "take stock of infrastructure projects under the Philippine government's flagship Build, Build, Build program."

"The two sides are also expected to continue discussions on oil and gas cooperation, with the view of coming up with a framework of cooperation that conforms to respective rules and regulations and international laws," the DFA said in a statement Wednesday, September 12.

Cayetano said, "State Councilor Wang's visit is a demonstration that our bilateral ties are becoming solid and steady as never before. The Philippines and China are both committed to continue on the path of cooperation, all the while ensuring that the Filipino and the Chinese peoples will reap the dividends of our mutual efforts." 

Wang's trip comes after Cayetano also visited him in China on August 22. It was during this visit that Cayetano said he protested China's radio warnings in the West Philippine Sea, but he said it was a "nonconfrontational" protest aimed at preserving cordial ties with China. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit the Philippines in November. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the framework for joint development of resources in the West Philippine Sea may be finalized by the time Xi visits the Philippines. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and 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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