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Marcos Jr. arrives in China for state visit

MANILA, January 4 ------ President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrived in China for a three-day state visit as he aims to shift Manila's relations with Beijing.

His plane touched down at the Beijing Capital International Airport recently, according to a Palace statement. The President’s trip to China is his first bilateral visit to a non-ASEAN country.

Ahead of his departure, Marcos Jr. said that his trip would seek to resolve security issues between China and the Philippines, amid tensions in the West Philippine Sea. "I look forward to my meeting with President Xi (Jinping) as we work towards shifting the trajectory of our relations to a higher gear that would hopefully bring numerous prospects and abundant opportunities for the peace and development of the peoples of both our countries," he said.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Nathaniel Imperial said in a Palace briefing last week that the Philippines and China will sign an agreement to set up "direct communication" lines on issues connected to the West Philippine Sea. The deal aims to avoid "miscalculation and miscommunication" over the waterway, he said.

Manila and Beijing have competing claims over the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in natural gas deposits. China has ignored a 2016 decision by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration that declared its historical claim to the waterway lacked basis.



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