MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and three other Southeast Asian top diplomats will visit China this week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the visits from March 31 to April 2 are at the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
“China attaches high importance to relations with Southeast Asian nations and makes them a priority in neighborhood diplomacy. Since Covid-19 broke out last year, China and Southeast Asian countries have maintained close high-level communication in a flexible way, witnessing positive progress in anti-epidemic and development cooperation,” Hua said in a press briefing Tuesday.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has yet to provide specific details about Locsin’s trip, which comes in the wake of a protest lodged by the Philippine government against the incursion of Chinese vessels in the Julian Felipe Reef.
Apart from Locsin, the foreign ministers of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia were also invited.
Hua said the visit of the four top diplomats “again demonstrates the profound friendship and growing affinity through closer interactions” between China and its neighbors in Southeast Asia.
She said China hopes to step up communication with Asean countries on the regional and international situation, strengthen strategic mutual trust, deepen anti-epidemic and development cooperation, and boost the quality of their cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative. (PNA)