MANILA— Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday he was
willing to build a “close personal friendship” with his newly
appointed Philippine counterpart Teddy Boy Locsin Jr.
Wang, in a report by Beijing’s state-run Xinhua released by its
embassy in Manila Friday, said he wants to foster ties with
Locsin to deepen cooperation between the Philippines and China.
“I am willing to establish a good working relationship and a
close personal friendship with you to further deepen strategic
mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation between the two
countries, keep close contacts and coordination on regional and
international issues, jointly promote healthy and stable
development of the bilateral ties and maintain regional peace
and stability,” Wang said.
Locsin, Manila’s envoy to the United Nations, was sworn in as
the Philippines’ top diplomat on Wednesday.
He replaces Alan Peter Cayetano, who is seeking a congressional
seat in Taguig in next year’s elections.
Ties between the Philippines and China have improved under
President Rodrigo Duterte, who has taken a softer stance on
Manila’s maritime dispute with Beijing over the South China Sea
in exchange for better economic ties.
China, however, has intensified its construction of artificial
islands in the South China Sea as it continued to ignore the
Philippines’ landmark 2016 victory in an international court
that invalidated its sweeping nine-dash line claim over the