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China's foreign minister to visit Manila on Tuesday

by July 21, 2017 General
President Rodrigo Duterte is welcomed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his visit in Beijing in October 2016. Toto Lozano, Malacanang Photo/file

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi will visit Manila on Tuesday next week for talks with his Filipino counterpart ahead of regional meetings slated for early August, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday.

Wang and Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano will hold a bilateral meeting on Tuesday morning, after which they will sign a memorandum of understanding.

“This visit will provide an opportunity for the Philippine and Chinese foreign ministers to discuss matters related to bilateral relations and the forthcoming ASEAN meetings,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Robespierre Bolivar told Kyodo News.

Bolivar said Wang will also pay a courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte.

The two ministers last met on June 29 when Cayetano visited Beijing at Wang’s invitation. The Philippines and China have rekindled their relations since Duterte came to power in June last year.

Hoping to forge stronger economic ties, the Duterte administration has decided not to press China on territorial disputes over the South China Sea despite the Philippines’ resounding victory last year at an international tribunal over Beijing’s extensive maritime claims in the area.

China continues to disregard the arbitration award, assert its claims and even fortify its holdings in the South China Sea.

China is expected to take part in a series of meetings hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila on Aug. 2 to 8 with its dialogue partners, including the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ASEAN Regional Forum. The Philippines holds the rotating ASEAN chairmanship this year.

Wang’s last visit to Manila was in November 2015, ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Forum summit that the Philippines hosted.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.