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PH-China reaffirm strong ties

THE Philippines and China reaffirmed the continuing vitality of their relations despite the constraints imposed by COVID-19, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Saturday.

This developed as Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. was on a three-day official visit to China that ended yesterday (Sunday).

Locsin’s visit was made upon the invitation of his Chinese counterpart, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The State Councilor received ocsin and his entourage in Tengchong City, in the southern province of Yunnan.

On Saturday, the two Foreign Ministers held a bilateral meeting to take stock of priority political and economic bilateral cooperation initiatives.

Both officials pledged to forge ahead with sustained policy dialogues, as well as economic and infrastructure cooperation projects.

Wang affirmed China’s commitment to supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s infrastructure drive under the Build Build Build program.

The two Foreign Ministers also engaged in a candid and in-depth exchange on regional security concerns, as well as issues of mutual interest in the context of ASEAN-China relations in which the Philippines acts as China coordinator, as well as in broader multilateral fora.

At the meeting’s close, Locsin and Wang confirmed the prospective establishment of a Fast Lane for Urgently Needed Personnel Exchanges between the Philippines and China to facilitate, with due safeguards, the movement of essential official exchanges and travel by personnel in crucial industries such as business and trade, infrastructure, logistics, production, and technical services.

Joining Locsin were his wife, Ma. Lourdes B. Locsin, Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Meynardo L.B. Montealegre, Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago L. Sta. Romana, Chief of Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert E.A. Borje, Philippine Embassy-Beijing Minister Raphael S.C. Hermoso, Special Assistant Shiena Escoto-Tesorero, Embassy Third Secretary and Vice Consul Jet C. Olfato, and Asian and Pacific Affairs Principal Assistant Emilio O. Lopue, Jr.