Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for the first time and shook hands last November 21 in Beijing. It was a historic occasion because the two countries had been locked in territorial disputes over islands and reefs in the West Philippine Sea ( South China Sea) for the past few years.
The occasion was the 22nd summit meeting of 21 heads of countries which composes the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC. This year’s meeting was hosted by China and held in Beijing. Next year’s meeting will be hosted by the Philippines in Iloilo City at the Iloilo Convention Center which is supposed to be finished by April next year.
Although the meeting between Aquino and Xi lasted only about ten minutes, there has been immense interest on the possible effects of this diplomatic first on future Philippine-China relations. Was this a signal that there could be lessening of tensions between the two countries or was it simply a photo opportunity by a polite host greeting a visitor?