Photo from Qin Gang Facebook

China’s newly appointed Foreign Minister and State Councilor Qin Gang is set to visit the Philippines on April 20, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The visit aims to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and build on the agreements reached during President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s state visit to China in January.

“The official visit continues the series of high-level interactions between the Philippines and China in 2023, following President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s state visit to China in early January,” the DFA said in a statement.

Qin and his Philippine counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, are expected to discuss cooperation in various fields including agriculture, trade, energy, infrastructure, and people-to-people relations. They will also discuss regional security issues, including China’s aggressive activities in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea.

This visit will be the first in-person meeting between Qin and Manalo, and comes just after Manalo’s high-level engagements with US officials in Washington D.C.

During his visit to the US, Manila and Washington strengthened their military alliance in response to China’s aggressions in the West Philippine Sea.

This visit is considered significant as it is Qin’s first official engagement with the Philippines since his appointment as Foreign Minister and State Councilor in December 2022 and March 2023, respectively.