In recalling our bilateral meeting years ago in Beijing, please allow me to extend to you our warm welcome to the Philippines.
Your visit underscores the future of the relationship between the Philippines and China. Our peoples have had centuries-old ties that predate the advent of the West in Asia. Today, as Asia surges forward as one of the most economically dynamic regions, we hope to look forward to a closer cooperation by building on the foundations of our long-standing traditional friendship.
China has contributed vastly to the Asian economic miracle in the 21st century. Under the domestic development policies pursued by Beijing, China has lifted more millions out of poverty in a shortest span of time than any other country. China has more than matched this spectacular feat with its rapid economic growth.
Today, China is admired as the workshop of the world. Tomorrow it will earn greater accolades as a mighty factory of the new global economy driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the instrument of Artificial Intelligence. Embracing globalization has brought China unimaginable dividends making it virtually the second largest in the world.
Now China is stepping out to contribute even more. The Belt and Road initiative is a major investment that proposes to draw the world even closer together in shared prosperity.
Perhaps, now is the most auspicious moment in the history of our region. Anticipating that we can all build a future together, we sincerely hope that Beijing will pursue the wise path of moderation, reason, and fairness with China taking into full account the legitimate national interest of its neighbors.
Nowhere is this more true than in disputes over the seas that connect our region into a vibrant whole. We all have an equal stake in the safety, security, and freedoms of the waters that surround us. This should be the animating spirit for all of us as we settle down to manage such challenges.
Clearly, it is more crucial now than ever that all members of the global community should strive together to preserve a rules-based international order.
Given its stature and power, Your Excellency, it is imperative that China play its proper role in adhering to the rule of law to preserve stability, security, and peace in the world so that we may all continue to pursue our aspirations for development and progress. China would possess, moreover, an incredible opportunity to stand as a champion of principle, fairness, and inclusiveness in disputes and disagreements in the world.
We Filipinos look forward to the success of your visit to our country. Much is invested in terms of hope in what the Philippines and China, as sovereign equals, can achieve together.
Amb Albert del Rosario
Chair, Stratbase ADR Institute
(Editor’s note: The author is former secretary of foreign affairs under the Aquino administration and served as ambassador to the US under the Arroyo government.)