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China, Philippines cement ties in new year

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. prior to their talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 4, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. in Beijing on Wednesday.

Marcos is the first foreign leader hosted by China in 2023. This visit is his first visit to China as president and his first official visit to a country outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“All this speaks volumes about the close ties between China and the Philippines and the important place that our two countries take in each other”s foreign policies,” Xi told Marcos.

Xi called on both sides to cultivate new highlights of partnership after choosing agriculture, infrastructure, energy and culture as four key areas of cooperation.

China is willing to assist the development of agriculture and rural areas in the Philippines and advance infrastructure and connectivity projects with the Philippines, Xi said.

Marcos said he hopes to prove to the world through this visit that Philippines-China relations are in good shape and important, and both sides are committed to upgrading the ties.

China is the most vigorous partner of cooperation for the Philippines and nothing can stop the continuation and development of the friendship between the two countries, Marcos said.

He said the Philippines adheres to the one-China policy.

Thanking China for its assistance in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Marcos said he expects more Chinese citizens to travel to the Philippines for tourism and study.

Both sides agreed to handle maritime issues properly through friendly consultation and resume talks for oil and gas exploration.

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