MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. will travel to China next week for talks with his Chinese counterpart, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.
Locsin will be in China from March 18 to 21 upon the invitation of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the DFA said in a statement.
“Secretary Locsin and his Chinese counterpart will hold a bilateral meeting to discuss the strengthening of the friendly relations between the Philippines and China in the spirit of mutual respect and through enhanced functional cooperation,” the statement read.
“Beyond mutual benefit across the broad scope of bilateral engagement, both Ministers will also discuss ways to advance the larger goal of bringing about peace and prosperity to the region,” it said.
The high-level meeting between the two countries follows Chinese President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to Manila in November last year, the first from a Chinese President in 13 years, during which he reiterated ties with the Philippines.
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Wang also visited the Philippines in October, meeting then Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in Davao City.
Despite overlapping territorial claims, Manila forged closer ties with Beijing in 2016 after President Rodrigo Duterte rose to power.
In the same year Duterte was elected president, an international arbitration court awarded the Philippines rights to its territorial claims in the South China Sea, saying “there was no legal basis” for China “to claim historic rights to resources” in the strategic waterway where some $5 trillion worth of goods pass annually.