BEIJING—China has welcomed the appointment of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano as new Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary, vowing to work with him to achieve healthier China-Philippines relations.
”We welcome the appointment and congratulate Mr. Cayetano,” China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a regular press conference last Thursday.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced Cayetano’s appointment last Wednesday before he left for a six-day working visit to Cambodia, Hong Kong, and China.
Cayetano, an incumbent senator, is member of the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) that rejected the appointment of former DFA Secretary Perfecto Yasay. Undersecretary Enrique Manalo took over as acting secretary.
Cayetano ran but lost as vice presidential candidate of President Duterte in the May 2016 elections.
”China is ready to work with him to implement the high-level consensus and keep deepening practical cooperation to push forward China-Philippines relations for greater benefits to our peoples and regional peace and stability,” Geng said.
The Philippines-China relations have continued to improve following the election of President Duterte and his first visit to Beijing upon the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping in October last year.
”Since last year, with the care and guidance of the two heads of state, the China-Philippines relations have achieved all-round improvement and bilateral cooperation has entered a new stage,” the MFA spokesman said.
”Cooperation across the board has recovered and yielded fruitful outcomes. Our relationship is making overall progress,” he added.
President Duterte is among the 29 heads of state and government leaders who will attend the Belt & Road Forum on International Cooperation set on May 14-15 in Beijing.
In his first visit to Beijing, President Duterte brought home USD 24 billion worth of investment pledges and infrastructure projects.
The normalization of China-Philippines relations has also resulted in the lifting of restrictions on the importation of fruits particularly bananas and pineapples from the Philippines.