China, Philippines agree to strengthen cooperation on anti-pandemic efforts, economic recovery
Published: Jan 17, 2021 02:17 PM

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin in Manila, the Philippines, Jan. 16, 2021. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin vowed here Saturday to strengthen bilateral cooperation on anti-pandemic efforts and economic recovery.

While meeting with Locsin, Wang said under the strategic guidance of the leaders of the two countries, the bilateral relations have withstood various tests, and the friendship between the two peoples have been strengthened in jointly combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the year of 2021, the two sides should plan the year-round exchanges and cooperation as soon as possible with the focus on anti-pandemic efforts and economic recovery, said Wang.

The two countries should further increase common interests while dissolving differences, strengthen cooperation, unswervingly follow the course charted by the leaders of the two countries, so that the comprehensive strategic cooperation between the two sides will bear more fruits to benefit the two countries and the two peoples, he said.

Wang said that China and the Philippines are friendly neighbors, and enjoy a long tradition of helping each other. China has decided to donate a batch of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines and encourage Chinese companies to seek vaccine cooperation with the Philippine side, he said.

Wang said fruitful results have been achieved in major cooperation projects in recent years, noting that the two countries have completed 11 projects while 12 others are in progress or in the pipeline, and 12 more are under negotiation.

He said China is ready to further synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the Philippines' "Build, Build, Build" program, accelerate trade liberalization and facilitation, strengthen cooperation on cross-border e-commerce and finance, and share development opportunities and development fruits.

The regional cooperation in East Asia gained momentum last year in spite of difficulties and achieved positive results, Wang said, adding that China appreciates the important role the Philippines, which serves as the country coordinator of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China relations, has played in deepening the China-ASEAN ties.

China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the Philippines to well hold the commemorative activities with ASEAN countries to mark the 30th anniversary of the dialogue relations between China and ASEAN, upgrade Chian-ASEAN ties, forge a blue economy partnership and put into force the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement at an early date, Wang said.

Wang said China is ready to speed up the progress of consultations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea with ASEAN countries to work out the regional rules that are substantive, effective and consistent with international law.

For his part, Locsin said the Philippines-China relationship is a mature one based on equality and mutual benefit between two sovereign countries.

Under the guidance of the heads of state of the two countries, both sides have overcome the challenges posed by the epidemic and constantly advanced the cooperation in the areas including economy, trade and infrastructure, among others, he added.

The Philippines thanks China for providing anti-epidemic supplies including vaccines and sharing anti-coronavirus experiences to support its fight against COVID-19, said the Philippine foreign secretary.

The Philippines is looking forward to further strengthening the cooperation with China on COVID-19 vaccines, he noted.

Locsin called on the two countries to deepen mutual trust, enhance cooperation, and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability, bringing their ties of comprehensive strategic cooperation to a new height.

The Philippines is pleased to notice that the Chinese economy has swiftly recovered from the pandemic, Locsin said, adding that the global economic recovery needs China.

The Philippines is willing to learn from China's experience in constructing a new, dual-circulation development pattern, promote cooperation and achieve common development, Locsin said.

He also said the Philippines is willing to work with China to advance the consultations on the COC, create synergy between the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiative, and push for a steady growth of the ASEAN-China relations.

The two sides also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern.

After the meeting, Wang and Locsin witnessed the signing of cooperation documents and the ceremonial unveiling of a plaque to mark the establishment of Bank of China Manila as the Chinese currency renminbi (RMB) Clearing Bank of the Philippines.