President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. acknowledged his awareness of the meeting between former President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping, emphasizing his hope that Duterte’s involvement will facilitate a fresh channel of communication to address unresolved issues between the two nations.

Speaking at the launch of the government’s Food Stamp Program (FSP) in Tondo, Manila, Marcos clarified that Duterte did not require his permission to visit Beijing, as the meeting was conducted on friendly terms. Nevertheless, Marcos expressed openness to hearing any insights from his predecessor in the coming days.

“I was aware of his intention to go there. They are friends, acquainted with each other. Hence, I hope they discussed the current issues we face, such as the presence of Chinese vessels and other concerns. All these matters we observe—I hope they discussed them to promote progress. That is our goal: for dialogue to persist,” Marcos stated in Filipino during an interview with reporters. He was referring to the recent sighting of numerous Chinese vessels near Iroquois Reef, located south of the resource-rich Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.

The President asserted that the initiator of talks between the two claimants in the disputed waters was inconsequential, emphasizing his support for “new lines of communication.”

“Whether it is PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) or someone else, it doesn’t matter to me. As long as there is someone capable of assisting, I am confident that he will inform us about the contents of their conversation and how it impacts us,” Marcos explained. (ai/mnm)