• Melo Acuna

Philippines-China mark 45 years of Diplomatic Relations

Secretary Locsin and Filipino-Chinese leaders hail Philippines-China’s 45 years of diplomatic ties

MANILA – Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr said he had the privilege to see the People’s Republic of China on instructions of then President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.

In a statement released in time for the celebration of the 45th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China, Secretary Locsin said he joined his father, a newspaper publisher and other writers to see what was behind the “Bamboo Curtain,” a reference to the PROC.

“We made sincere friends among the mainland Chinse. We did not have to do it. China was poor. It had nothing to offer expect what we came to freely give and generously received in turn: sincere friendship and mutual understanding,” he said.

He added President Marcos defied the threats from the Cold War, he established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China with First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos becoming “an icon of Chinese womanhood.”

“Since then there has never been a break in the friendship of our peoples,” he added as first full state visit made by President Marcos. He compared the visit to “a visit to long lost relatives.”

He added the feeling of warm friendship has not cooled let alone been lost, “not even in our differences.”

Secretary Locsin said under President Rodrigo Duterte, the friendship “has flowered into a new partnership for mutual profit and progress.”

“Whatever happens in the future one achievement is undeniable and will always be to the new China’s unique credit: that in a time when many old rich countries experienced the fall of their middle classes into poverty, China raised 800 million from poverty to middle class by any scientific definition of the category,” he added.

He added China knows something the rest of the world does not or will not admit and practice, “that the first duty of a state is the care of its people, the material enhancement of their lives and the fuller realization of their individual talents for the greater good of all.”

“Truly Dōng Fāng Hóng, the East is Red with the warmth of Filipino-Chinese friendship,” he concluded.

As far as former Special Trade Envoy to China, Dr. Francis Chua is concerned, he said while both countries celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations what is more important is the “celebration of centuries of peaceful coexistence and business relationship.”

“Never have bothered countries declare or engage war against each other but rather fight shoulder to shoulder protecting each other during the US-Philippine War and Spain-Philippine War,” he added. Ambassador Chua also served as Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and currently chairs the International Chamber of Commerce-Philippines.

Meanwhile, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, President of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry said Philippines and China relations is founded on friendship and close ties which existed for centuries even before the Spaniards’ arrival in 1521.

“Over the years, this partnership flourished. It grew stronger with the signing of the Joint Communiqué establishing diplomatic ties between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines on June 9,1975,” he said.

Today, he added, Filipinos celebrate the “Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day” by virtue of a proclamation by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

According to Dr. Lim, from 2016, with the productive bilateral meetings between President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi Jinping underscored the stronger ties described as “New Golden Age.” He said last year, China became the Philippines top trading partner marked by increases in bilateral trade and investments.

He committed the Federation’s thrust to enhance people-to-people exchanges as they will lead the Filipino-Chinese community in undertaking projects that would promote growth and social development.

“Chinese values teach us diligence, hard work and helping others. In facing the global health crisis, the Philippines and China have always show support for each other,” Dr. Lim concluded as he called on everyone to continue the friendship and cooperation. (Melo M. Acuña)

Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., Former Ambassador Francis Chua and Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong. (Photos from DFA and Melo M. Acuna)

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