December 22, 2023
MANILA – Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said on Thursday he had a “frank and candid exchange” with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a telephone conversation this week.
“We both noted the importance of dialogue in addressing these issues,” Manalo said, referring to the call that took place on Wednesday.
“We had a frank and candid exchange and ended our call with a clearer understanding of our respective positions on a number of issues,” Manalo said, according to the DFA.
According to the DFA, the phone call comes after the meeting between President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Chinese president Xi Jinping at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders Summit in San Francisco.
The latter half of the year has seen several incidents over the West Philippine Sea (WPS), particularly between vessels of the Chinese Coast Guard and the Philippine Coast Guard. Supply ships trying to enter Ayungin shoal to resupply troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre, which is beached there, have been water cannoned by the Chinese.
On one occasion, Chinese vessels collided with the Philippine Coast Guard ship that was escorting contracted resupply boats. President Marcos said he is eyeing radical solutions in the WPS as diplomatic efforts have failed to stop the growing incidents of China’s incursion.
Marcos admitted that confrontations in the disputed waters have fallen into a pattern, where the Philippines would engage in traditional methods of diplomacy after each incident by sending a note verbal, and the Philippine Embassy would send a démarche to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. With a report from Reuters