President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. During their meeting on Friday, they agreed that the current challenges in the West Philippine Sea should not define the entirety of the relationship between the two countries.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) Summit and have agreed to find ways to lower the tension between the two countries over the South China Sea dispute.

“That’s essentially the message that we spoke of to each other, that we were in agreement that the problems that we have in South China Sea, with China, should not be the defining element of our relationship. But nonetheless, the problems remain and it is something that we will need to continue to communicate to find ways to avoid such incidents. And of course, as ever, whenever this issue comes up, I always bring up the plight of our fishermen,” Marcos said.

Marcos made the remarks when asked by the media during and interview at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco about specific agreements on how to ease the tensions in the South China Sea.

He and Xi had a pull-aside meeting at the George Moscone Convention Center during the APEC summit.

President Marcos stated that he asked the Chinese President to return to a situation where both Chinese and Filipino fishermen could fish together in these waters, a point he claims was well received by Xi.

Marcos mentioned that he requested another meeting with Xi to express his concerns about some incidents occurring between Chinese and Philippine vessels, including an actual collision.

“And hopefully, to find ways to avoid that and have ways to move forward from this situation. Essentially, we tried to come up with mechanisms to lower the tensions in South China Sea,” Marcos said.

Prior to meeting Xi, Marcos on Wednesday met with US Vice President Kamala Harris, with their talks centering on the situation in the West Philippine Sea and the ways forward to maintain peace.

They also reaffirmed the strength of the Philippine-US alliance, discussed current efforts to deepen security ties and expanded commercial and economic collaboration.

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