President Bongbong Marcos: WPS issue not the defining element of PHL-China relationship

President Bongbong Marcos met with China President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Summit in the US./PCO/

(Eagle News)–President Bongbong Marcos said he and China President Xi Jinping both agreed that the present challenges in the West Philippine Sea should not define the two countries’ relationship.

President Marcos, who is in the US for the Asia-Pacific Economic Leaders’ Summit, revealed this during an interview at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, according to the Presidential Communications Office.

The conversation  between the two leaders took place on the sidelines of the summit.

The President said he had requested the meeting with the Chinese leader once again to voice  his concern about some of the incidents  happening between Chinese and Philippine vessels, which have culminated in an actual collision.

“That’s essentially the message that we spoke of to each other, that we were in agreement that the problems that we have in South China Sea, with China, should not be the defining element of our relationship,” President Marcos said.

Nevertheless, he said “the problems remain and it is something that we will need to continue to communicate to find ways to avoid such incidents.”

“And hopefully to find ways to avoid that and have ways to move forward from this situation. Essentially, we tried to come up with mechanisms to lower the tensions in South China Sea,” he said.

He added that whenever the issue comes up, “I always bring up the plight of our fishermen.”

He said he also  asked that the two countries go back to when both Chinese and Filipino fishermen were fishing together in South China Sea waters, a point that he thinks was well taken by Xi.

Prior to meeting Xi, on Wednesday, the President met with US Vice President Kamala Harris and held talks on the situation in the West Philippine Sea and the ways forward to maintain peace.