Good neighborliness serves fundamental interests of China, the Philippines: FM


China’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday highlighted the value of cooperation between China and the Philippines.

“Cooperation between the two countries over the recent two years has shown that good neighborliness is the only choice serving the interests of the two countries and the two peoples,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a regular press conference.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte spoke highly of cooperation with China in the battle against transnational crimes and drug control at his annual State of the Union address on Monday.

He also said an improved relationship with China did not mean the Philippines would waver in its commitment to defend its interests in the South China Sea and that the Philippines was trying to resolve disputes through bilateral and multilateral platforms.

Geng said that China had noticed Duterte’s positive remarks on bilateral relations and cooperation in the past two years.

“China appreciates the Philippine government’s independent foreign policy under the leadership of President Duterte, as well as the development of normal relations and mutually beneficial cooperation by the Philippines with other countries based on equal and mutual respect,” Geng said.

Geng said, since the improvement of bilateral relations in 2016, the two sides have resumed cooperation in various fields and achieved marked progress, bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples.

Security cooperation is a focus of bilateral cooperation, Geng said. “China firmly supports President Duterte’s efforts in drug control, fight against terrorism and transnational crimes, and help the Philippine government maintain the peace and tranquility of the country.”