Locsin in China until October 11 for bilateral meeting, DFA says
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., right, and visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands during the latter's courtesy call in Davao city, southern Philippines Monday, Oct. 29, 2018.
AP/Manman Dejeto
Locsin in China until October 11 for bilateral meeting, DFA says
Bella Perez-Rubio (Philstar.com) - October 10, 2020 - 3:36pm

MANILA, Philippines — The country's top diplomat is in China for a bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed. 

"Upon the invitation of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. will undertake an Official Visit to the People’s Republic of China from 09 to 11 October 2020," a statement released by the DFA on Friday read. 

This is Locsin's first official trip overseas since February 2020, with travel largely halted by the lingering coronavirus pandemic. 

"Secretary Locsin and State Councilor Wang Yi are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting to discuss the advancement of Philippines-China cooperation and the revitalization of engagement across various fronts, under the 'new normal.' Both Ministers will also discuss regional and global topics of mutual interest," the agency said. 

Locsin's official visit comes just a few weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte took a newly outspoken position on the 2016 arbitral ruling which invalidated Beijing's nine-dash line claim over a large part of the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

"The award is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of governments to dilute or demean," Duterte said as he addressed the United Nations General Assembly for the first time on September 23. 

As the chief executive's speech garnered praise from both critics and allies, Malacañang a few hour later was quick to assert that Duterte has been consistent in his position regarding the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague's ruling. 

However, presidential spokesman Harry Roque also cautioned that this issue was not the whole of the Philippines' bilateral relations with China. 

“As I said, we will proceed on all other aspects of our relationship and we would probably accept the fact that there will be no resolution in the near future as far as the territorial dispute is concerned but let’s proceed on matters that we could move forward with such as investment and trade,” he said.

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