PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is set to conduct a state visit in China in January, the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said Saturday, November 12, 2022.

The OPS said Marcos’ visit to China will be from January 3 to 6, 2023.

He is expected to meet China President Xi Jinping.

On Saturday, the OPS said that during a brief conversation at the sidelines of the Asean-Plus Three (APT) Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Marcos said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed to further deepen the partnership of the two countries, especially during the meeting of the two leaders.

Li said that what the two countries have in common “far outweighs” their differences.

The two officials recalled the visit of the President’s father, late president Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., to China in 1975 where the two countries’ partnership started.

“It did, but it was something very important to us… he has been proven right because the partnership with China has been a great benefit to both our countries,” Marcos told Li.

“So I look forward to discussing all of these when I come to visit in January,” he added.

Li said he also looks forward to working with the Philippines in upholding the unity and cooperation between China and Asean as well as for peace and stability in the South China Sea on the basis of mutual respect and respect for the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and international laws, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

On Friday, Marcos called for an early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) based on international law as it can set an example of how states can manage their differences.

He said it will be more relevant as nations mark the 40 years of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) and the 20 years of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

“It shall be an example of how states manage their differences: through reason and through right. I, therefore, welcome the progress on textual negotiations on the COC this past year and hopefully an approved code of conduct in the very near future,” Marcos said.

He also noted the vitality of the continuous upholding of Unclos as the universal framework in oceans and sea activities.

During his early days in office, Marcos said he will continue to assert the country’s right over the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) with a “firm voice.”

He vowed to not allow even a single square millimeter of the country’s maritime coast to be trampled upon “as our sovereignty is sacred and we will not compromise it in any way.”

Marcos upheld the July 12, 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands in favor of the Philippines, invalidating China’s claims within the sea areas falling within the nine-dash line, which is over 90 percent of the West Philippine Sea.

China refused to accept the ruling, which also affirmed the traditional and legitimate fishing rights of Filipino fishermen in the area.

Filipino fishermen as well as troops continue to experience harassment by the Chinese authorities in the coastal waters of the Philippines. (SunStar Philippines)