China remains a close friend, says DFA PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 23 July 2011 14:03

“China is a close friend and neighbor of the Philippines,” Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Secretary said when asked about the country’s relations with China, during the Pilipinas Natin program the other day.

Conejos said the Philippine’s relationship with China is extensive. In the past 36 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Philippines had engaged China in all areas of relationship.

To date, China is the third largest trading partner of the country, with huge investments and cooperation agreement in agriculture, science and technology, education and manpower resource exchange.

On the issue of the Spratly islands in the West Philippines Sea, Undersecretary Conejos said, “We look at these as challenges, as opportunities. Not really as threats.” Conejos also said that despite what may be perceived as a threatening situation, the most important thing according to him is that both parties are committed to a peaceful resolution of the issues.

“Whatever is happening now at the West Philippines Sea it should not affect our robust bilateral relations with China,” Conejos said. “Our relationship with China will continue to strengthen, it will continue to broaden, and it will continue to deepen to the mutual interest of our people and the people of China.”

“There is no alternative here. In our present modern age war, or even the contemplation of war, is completely anathema. We are a peace loving country. We will protect the interest of the Philippines through peaceful means. We have the means under international law…as a weapon in advancing our national interest. War is not an option.    Peace will always be there. And your DFA will be up front in ensuring that we push forward the agenda of pursuing peaceful negotiation in this aspect,” Undersecretary Conejos concluded. --VEN CLARENCE TUVERA