BANGKOK, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said here on Thursday that China has always viewed its relations with the Philippines from a strategic height.
Xi made the remarks when meeting with Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, saying that during their phone call in May, they reached a series of important consensus on growing bilateral ties in the new era and identified agriculture, infrastructure, energy and people-to-people exchanges as four priority areas of cooperation.
Xi said that the two sides need to create highlights in cooperation and enhance the quality of cooperation to the benefit of their peoples, adding that China will work with the Philippines to carry forward their friendship and cooperation, commit to national development and rejuvenation, and write a new chapter in China-Philippines friendship.
Xi underscored China's readiness to maintain regular communication with the Philippines and to continue to accommodate its concerns, and the two sides need to further deepen the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Philippines' "Build, Build, Build" program, ensure the success of the Davao-Samal Bridge project, explore cooperation on "Two Countries, Twin Parks," and strengthen cooperation on clean energy, education, and public health.
China is willing to import more quality agricultural and sideline products from the Philippines, said Xi, adding that the two sides need to take more concrete steps to increase people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cement public support for China-Philippines friendship.
On the South China Sea issue, the two sides must stick to friendly consultation and handle differences and disputes properly, Xi said.
Noting that China and the Philippines, as two developing countries in Asia, need to keep strategic independence, uphold peace, openness and inclusiveness, and stay the course of regional cooperation, Xi said the two countries should work together to reject unilateralism and acts of bullying, defend fairness and justice, and safeguard peace and stability in the region.
For his side, Marcos once again extended congratulations on the success of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and on Xi's re-election as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, saying that this brings greater stability not only to the future development of China but also to the region and the world.
Marcos said that the Philippines and China share a millennium-long history of friendly exchanges, and bilateral cooperation across the board has made steady progress since the establishment of diplomatic ties, adding that China has made important contributions to the national development of the Philippines by giving support and assistance.
Saying that mutual trust between the two countries is being increasingly strengthened, Marcos added that the Philippines looks forward to working with China to unleash potentials and expand cooperation in such areas as infrastructure, energy, agriculture and people-to-people exchanges, in an effort to build a more robust and strong bilateral relationship.
Marcos stressed his consistent view that relations between the two countries should not be defined by maritime issues and that both sides may further enhance communication in this regard, and the Philippines will continue to adhere to the one-China policy, uphold the principle of peace, stay committed to an independent foreign policy, and will not take sides.
The Philippines is ready to engage in active consultations with China and find ways to advance the joint exploration of maritime oil and gas resources, he said.