June 6, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping have already reached a consensus on maritime issues in the West Philippine Sea, according to Ji Lingpeng, Counselor of the Chinese Embassy.
When asked about the report of a Chinese media outlet saying that Chinese fishermen collected buoys in the West Philippine Sea, Lingpeng did not answer directly, only saying that he understood that “our Filipino friends are very concerned about South China Sea issues.”
“President Xi Jinping and I has reached a consensus on the maritime problems in a friendly way with consultations and exchanges. I think under the leadership of our two presidents, we may find a good way to settle all these problems,” he said during the Award for promoting Philippines-China understanding Press Conference on Monday.
He also said that the South China Sea does not represent the entirety of the relationship between China and the Philippines.
“The South China Sea issue is only a very small part of our bilateral relations. We have a lot of cooperation to enhance, especially in the era of post-COVID. Actually this year, you may have seen a lot of cooperation has been put forward between our two countries, especially in the economic area,” Lingpeng told reporters.
While the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has already debunked the claim that Philippine buoys were collected by Chinese fishermen, many cases of territorial disputes have occured in the West Philippine Sea.
One of which was in February 2023, when the PCG reported an incident of a Chinese coast Guard ship pointing a laser at the Filipino personnel, causing temporary blindness.