Chinese FM Wang Yi visits Manila

By Michaela del Callar

MANILA, Nov. 9 (PNA) — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be in the Philippines for a working visit days before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced on Monday.

In a press statement, the DFA said Wang is scheduled to meet on Tuesday morning with Philippine counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario – their first bilateral meeting in years since the resurgence of tensions in 2012 between Manila and Beijing over disputed territories in the South China Sea.

“The Philippines looks forward to welcoming Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his working visit to the Philippines on November 10 upon the invitation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario,” a DFA statement said Monday.

Wang’s visit was announced by the DFA hours after China said that President Xi Jinping is attending the APEC Summit in Manila from Nov. 17 to 19.

According to the DFA, Wang will arrive at the DFA at 8:25 a.m.

He will be welcomed by Del Rosario at the department’s lobby and sign the DFA’s guestbook before they proceed with their meeting.

The DFA did not say if there will be a press conference by the two officials after their meeting, but announced a photo opportunity with the media.

Tensions flared between Manila and Beijing amid China’s “indisputable” claim over nearly 90 percent of the waters, which includes areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Defying protests from other countries like the United States and Japan, China has taken a more aggressive stance in the tense waters, beefing up its reclamation activities over the last several months in disputed areas and transformed previously submerged features into artificial islands with buildings several stories high with at least one runway.

Manila has filed a case against China before a United Nations-approved tribunal in January 2013 to invalidate China’s far-reaching claims. A decision is expected sometime in 2016. (PNA)