Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III raise a toast in honor of People’s Republic of China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during the welcome luncheon hosted by the Philippine government for the Chinese official held at the Marco Polo Davao. Secretary Dominguez was among the officials who proposed a toast to honor Minister Wang and “the robust friendship between” the Philippines and China. Other Philippine officials led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. were also at the luncheon to welcome Minister Wang.
A flurry of significant diplomatic activities around the Asia Pacific region greeted us last week.
In Beijing, Japanese prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the first Japanese leader to visit China in seven years. This visit comes amid Tokyo’s desire to build new cooperation with China, seen by many as its erstwhile adversary in the Asia pacific.
Abe brought 500 Japanese Businessmen and fostered several important business deals between his country and Chinese counterparts, apart from seeking stronger bilateral ties in the areas of free trade.
In a report by the South China Morning Post in Hongkong, Abe said “the nature of the relationship between Beijing and Tokyo had been transformed from competitive to cooperative”, adding his desire to “expand our relationship significantly.”
This move by Japan comes as the influence of its close ally the united States wanes in the Pacific, with US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans Pacific partnership, a replacement for which Japan is apparently trying to form. This waning is apparent despite the US maintaining military bases in Japan.
As this developed, another key member of the Chinese government Foreign minister Wang Yi visits Davao City in the Philippines to inaugurate its first consulate general on the island of Mindanao.
This coincides with the inaugural flight of Hongkong based Cathay Dragon to that southern Philippine city, hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte. At the same time, Yi is engaged with high level talks with Filipino counterpart Teodoro Locsin,Jr. and the Philippine governments economic team headed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.
These high level discussions in Beijing and Davao only point to one thing: we are in interesting times.