China’s foreign minister to visit Philippines this week

April 19, 2023 - 10:22 AM
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang attends a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (not pictured) at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, April 14, 2023. (Suo Takekuma/Pool via Reuters/File Photo)

 Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang will make an official visit to the Philippines late this week and will discuss with his counterpart regional security issues, including the South China Sea, the Philippines said on Tuesday.

Qin’s April 21-23 visit will be his first official engagement with the former U.S. colony since he was appointed foreign minister and state councilor in December and would comes amid displeasure in Beijing over the Philippines expanding U.S. military access to its bases.

Qin and Philippine counterpart Enrique Manalo will discuss implementing agreements made during President Ferdinand Marcos’ state visit to China in January and the outcome of last month’s bilateral talks on the South China Sea.

“They will also discuss regional security issues of mutual concern,” the Philippines foreign ministry said in a statement.

China’s ambassador to the Philippines last week caused a stir when he accused the country of “stoking the fire” of regional tensions by offering expanded military base access to treaty ally the United States, which he accused of interfering.

The Philippine National Security Council in response said it has no intention of interfering in China’s affairs with Taiwan, or allowing itself to be used by other countries to interfere.

China, which claims large parts of the South China Sea, including some areas in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, has expressed concern over an increasing U.S. military presence there.

—Reporting by Karen Lema and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty