Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) shakes hands with his Philippine counterpart Alan Peter Cayetano during their bilateral meeting in Manila, thePhilippines, July 25, 2017. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)
MANILA, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The Belt and Road Initiative will play a key role in the cooperation between China and the Philippines, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday.
Wang said the Philippines is an important part of the ancient Maritime Silk Road, as the Southeast Asian country was the first stop of the Chinese commercial ships from Fujian province.
Like in history, the Philippines will once again be a vital part of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, he said.
Wang said under the framework of Belt and Road, China will help the Philippines strengthen its infrastructure like bridges and roads that can facilitate connectivity in the region.
Wang made the remarks at a joint press conference with Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in Manila.
Wang noted that the relations between China and the Philippines have improved after President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to China in October last year.
At the press conference, Cayetano expressed support to the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. Cayetano said the Philippines, chair of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) this year, will include the initiative in the ASEAN development plan to further enhance ASEAN-China relations.
In their talks on Tuesday, the two foreign ministers discussed a slew of topics, including anti-terrorism, anti-illegal drugs, infrastructure, economy and trade, people's wellbeing, defense, arts and culture.
Cayetano said the bilateral relations between China and the Philippines have now entered a "golden age," adding that the ties have grown deeper.
The two ministers also discussed the South China Sea, both agreeing that the situation in that region has stabilized.
They recognized the support of ASEAN member countries, noted the progress made by China and ASEAN in crafting the framework of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
The two sides also vowed to further strengthen coordination and communication, so as to further strengthen relations.