Despite the rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua assured President Benigno Aquino 3rd that the disputes between China and the Philippines are only “temporary.”
In his speech during the Filipino-Chinese community’s joint celebration of the 116th Philippine Independence Day and 13th Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day, Zhao said China wants peace and stability in the region.
“The difficulties we’re facing on South China Sea are temporary,” Zhao said, citing the two countries’ ability to settle the dispute “through negotiations and consultations.”
“It is our common aspiration to maintain peace and stability and to keep the momentum of economic growth,” he added.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd said that he felt encouraged by China’s commitment to improve the “circumstances of our people.”
He said that the maritime row is “not the totality of Philippine-China relations,” hence engagement with China should be maintained.
“The disputes that we do have in the sea that borders our respective lands should not be the sum total of our relationships,” Aquino noted, adding that “peace and stability are necessary components” for progress.
“We did state we are both committed to the lot and the circumstances of our peoples, and to hear them reiterated today truly fills our heart,” he said.
Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China were established on June 9, 1975. Since 2001, the nation observes Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day every June 9.