Marcos says that Harris’ visit won’t cause any trouble with China
Saturday, November 19, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., fresh from a meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Thailand, downplayed the potential friction that an upcoming visit by United States Vice President Kamala Harris might contribute to relations between Manila and Beijing.
“No. I see no reason why they should. She is currently in the Philippines and visiting a different region. Moreover, it is the area closest to the South China Sea, although it is quite obviously Philippine property. So, I believe there should not be… In a brief interview with the media following a four-day business visit to Bangkok for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit,” Marcos stated, “I don’t believe it will pose any problems.”
Harris is scheduled to depart Bangkok for Manila. Harris will meet with Marcos and her Filipino counterpart, Vice President Sara Duterte, in the Philippines. She will subsequently go for Palawan on the 22nd.
She would be the highest-ranking American official to visit the island province close to contested regions of the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.
The visit has the potential to irritate Beijing, which defended its position on the disputed waters vigorously at the APEC. In a planned speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that the region should not be the site of “great power contests.”
Following the bilateral meeting with Marcos, China stated that the two nations should “remain committed to friendly consultations and effectively address differences and disputes.”
“They should work together to reject unilateralism and acts of bullying, defend fairness and justice, and maintain peace and stability in the area,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement issued shortly after a bilateral meeting between the two countries on November 17 in Bangkok.
Manila’s ambassador to Washington and the President’s uncle, Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez, told Reuters that tensions over Taiwan will likely be discussed when Marcos meets Harris.
Marcos informed the media that he wanted to hear from Harris about the US’ expectations of its regional allies.
“When it comes to security and defense in the Asia-Pacific, I believe a united response is essential. I do not believe that any single nation should take the lead. I believe we will fare much better if we respond as a group, and I believe the other nations agree,” Marcos continued.
From November 16-19, the Philippine President was in Bangkok for the APEC Summit. During his stay, he also met with a number of foreign leaders, including Xi, Emmanuel Macron of France, Mohammed Bin Salman, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, and Anthony Albanese of Australia.