THE Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries as well as China should stand together and reject “non-regional forces” that don’t want stability in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday.
In his message after the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Ministry of China, Wang said the situation in the South China Sea was headed toward stability and cooperation.
This was because of the move of President Rodrigo Duterte to pursue an independent foreign policy and friendship and cooperation with China, he said.
“China-Philippines relationship has been back on track and embraces sunlight once again. It is the right choice that is consistent with the tide of the times. China values its friendship and China honors its commitment. China will return sincerity with good will,” Wang said.
He said the improved relationship between China and the Philippines led to progress in the framework of the proposed code of conduct in the disputed waters. The draft of the framework was completed in May.
“This fact shows to the world that China and Asean countries have full capability and wisdom to handle differences,” Wang said.
The top Chinese diplomat warned about “non-regional forces” that only wanted to stir up problems in the region.
“We need to stand up together and say ‘no’ to them,” said Wang.
Cayetano and Wang signed an agreement that seeks to strengthen cooperation between the two nations particularly in tourism, trade, finance and fighting illegal drugs.
It also aims to improve cooperation in sports, arts, culture as well as science and technology.
“These are areas where the Philippines and China’s interests find common grounds,” Cayetano said.