TOP DIPLOMATS. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) shakes hands with Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (R) after signing the guestbook in Manila on July 25, 2017. Photo by Noel Celis/AFP
MANILA, Philippines – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China is offering itself as a "good brother" of the Philippines, as he urged the region to "stand together" against "non-regional forces" in the South China Sea disputes.
"China stands ready to be the good neighbor and good brother of the Filipino people," Wang said in a joint press conference on Tuesday, July 25, with Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
He said ties between the two countries, after all, "embraced the sunlight again" under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Wang was in the Philippines on Tuesday for his first official visit here, at the invitation of the Philippine government. During this visit, the Chinese diplomat pushed for joint development in the South China Sea, parts of which the Philippines claims as the West Philippine Sea.
In his joint press conference with Cayetano, Wang also said that "an independent Philippines will bring the country dignity."
This was in reference to Duterte’s push for an independent foreign policy that brings it farther from Washington and closer to Beijing. (READ: Duterte foreign policy: Independent but isolated)
Months before China said it can be a "good brother," former Philippine foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr had slammed the US for treating the Philippines as "little brown brothers not capable of true independence and freedom."
At the same time on Tuesday, Wang urged the region to resist so-called outside forces that supposedly meddle in the South China Sea disputes.
The United States is China’s most powerful rival in the Asia-Pacific, which has been slammed by China in the past for supposedly meddling in this maritime row.
Wang pointed out that China and countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations "have full capabilities and wisdom to handle the differences between us and maintain stability in the South China Sea."
"If there are still non-regional forces in the region, they don’t want to see stability in the South China Sea and they still want to stir up trouble in the South China Sea, we need to stand together and say no to them together," China’s top diplomat said in Manila. – Rappler.com