Marcos: US VP Harris” planned visit to Palawan won”t hurt PH-China relations

Marcos: US VP Harris’ planned visit to Palawan won’t hurt PH-China relations GMA News Online

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Published November 19, 2022 5:54pm

BANGKOK — The upcoming visit of US Vice President Kamala Harris to Palawan will not negatively affect the relationship between the Philippines and China, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Saturday. Responding to a query about whether Harris’ trip would have negative implications for relations between the Philippines and China, Marcos said, “No.” “I don’t see why they should. She is in the Philippines and she is visiting another part of the Philippines. And of course, it is the closest area to the South China Sea, but it’s very clearly on Philippine territory, so I don’t think there should be… I don’t think it will cause any problems,” he told reporters. Harris is scheduled to arrive in Manila on the evening of Sunday, November 20, following her attendance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Thailand. She is set to meet with Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte on Monday, November 21, and visit Palawan–one of the Philippines’ closest territories to the disputed South China Sea–on Tuesday, November 22. When asked what issues would be discussed during the meeting, Marcos said that relations between the Philippines and the United States “must continue to evolve, and that will be the case.” “Well, things have changed. What will the United States do in response, and what do they expect from their partners in the region?” he said. “[W]hen it comes to security and defense in the Asia Pacific… It really has to be a joint response. I don’t think any single country should go (at) it alone. I think we will do much better if we respond as a group, and I think other countries agree,” he added. Harris’ planned visit to Palawan comes six years after the Philippines scored a landmark legal victory against China over Beijing’s claims in areas that fall within Manila’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea. China has refused to acknowledge the ruling by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration and continued to assert its presence in the strategic waterway despite diplomatic protests from the Philippines. On Thursday, Marcos met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the APEC Summit, where he said they talked “a bit” about regional issues and that “details that need to be discussed” will be taken up next year. For his part, Xi said the two sides “must stick to friendly consultation and handle the differences and disputes properly” when it comes to issues regarding the South China Sea. Marcos will visit China for the first time as Philippine leader in January 2023. — VBL, GMA Integrated News

Tags: Bongbong Marcos, philippineschinarelations, Kamala Harris, South China Sea Dispute

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