Philippine President-elect expresses confidence in China ties in meeting with Chinese envoy who delivers Xi’s congratulatory message
Published: May 12, 2022 02:23 PM Updated: May 12, 2022 11:54 PM
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Philippines presidential candidate, arrives at his campaign headquarters in Mandaluyong City, Manila, the Philippines, on Monday, May 9, 2022.Photo: VCG

Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Philippines presidential candidate, arrives at his campaign headquarters in Mandaluyong City, Manila, the Philippines, on Monday, May 9, 2022.Photo: VCG

The Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian, on Thursday delivered a congratulatory letter by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Philippine President-elect Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., who expressed confidence in the future bilateral ties.

Marcos highly appreciated the congratulatory message by Xi and said that Huang was the first diplomatic envoy he had met since he was elected. He asked Huang to convey his regards to Xi.

Marcos stressed that China and the Philippines are traditional friendly neighbors adding that his parents started a new chapter on the bilateral ties between the two countries and the Marcos family has long been devoted to friendly cooperation with China.

"I have been in contact with China since I was very young and paid long-term attention to China's development. I deeply praise the achievements China has made," Marcos said.

The president-elect also noted that he highly valued the friendship with China and is willing to work with Beijing to further develop bilateral ties and enhance communication and cooperation, stressing that he is confident in the future of China-Philippines relations.

Huang said that China remains the biggest trade partner of the Philippines and has become its second export market. He noted that China is willing to promote comprehensive strategic cooperative ties with the Philippines and continuously deepen pragmatic cooperation.

On Wednesday, Xi sent his congratulations to Marcos for being elected as the new Philippine president. China and the Philippines are both at a critical stage of development, and bilateral relations have great future prospects, Xi said, saying that he is willing to establish good working relations with the new leader.

China and the Philippines, facing each other across the waters, have been good neighbors for a long time. Under joint efforts in recent years, bilateral ties have continued to improve, bringing benefits to both countries and contributing to regional peace and stability, Xi said.

He stressed that both countries are currently at a critical stage of development, and bilateral relations bring major opportunities and positive future prospects.

Xi said he is willing to establish good working relations with Marcos and work together to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership which will benefit both countries and their people.

On the same day, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan congratulated Sara Duterte-Carpio for being elected as the Philippine vice president.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reiterated the close ties of the two countries and the willingness to deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation.

"Now with the vote count nearly complete and the new government about to be sworn in next month, the Philippines is at a crucial period of power shift. At such a point, China wants to sound support for their old friend Marcos, who, in the past decades, has not only witnessed, but also taken an important role in promoting China-Philippines relations," Ge Hongliang, director of the College of ASEAN Studies at Guangxi University for Nationalities, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Moreover, Xi's message has expressed China's hope to maintain steady bilateral relations with the Philippines and keep close interactions on politics, economy, and especially the South China Sea issues, Ge noted.

"China must reiterate its stance in maintaining the comprehensive strategic partnership with the Philippines as the new administration has not been formed and no candidates have been yet revealed for Marcos' economic, diplomatic, or national security teams. What's more, Marcos is unlike his father or the current president Duterte, both of whom are strong political figures, and he could be affected by other voices domestically," Ge said.

Also on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden spoke to Marcos Jr. by phone to congratulate him on winning the election, and "underscored that he looks forward to working with the President-elect to continue strengthening the US-Philippine Alliance, while expanding bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues," the White House said in a statement, listing the pandemic, climate change, economic growth and "respect for human rights."

Marcos Jr., 64, son of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, won by a landslide in the presidential election on Tuesday over his rival, current Vice President Leni Robredo.

Marcos' running mate, Sara Duterte-Carpio, the 43-year-old daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, also won the vice presidential race.

Experts believe that the new Philippine leader will likely carry on with Duterte's foreign policy in maintaining close ties with China, but warned that growing US interference and rising domestic nationalist sentiments in the Philippines could raise challenges and uncertainties in its dealing with China on the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Tuesday said that "China congratulates the Philippines on the presidential election. Our congratulations also go to the leading candidates. We hope and believe that various political forces in the Philippines will continue to work in solidarity for national renewal and development."

China and the Philippines enjoy a long-standing friendship, the spokesperson said, adding that China will continue to work together with the Philippines to stay committed to the mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries and to focusing on post-COVID growth.