San Francisco, California
November 17, 2023

On the last day of his participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM), President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. engaged in a discussion with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China during a meeting in San Francisco, California.

During the event, both leaders agreed that the present challenges in the West Philippine Sea should not be the sum of their two countries’ relations.

“That’s essentially the message that we spoke of to each other, that we were in agreement that the problems that we have in South China Sea, with China, should not be the defining element of our relationship,” said President Marcos Jr. during a media interview before heading off to Los Angeles, California for a Working Visit.

“But nonetheless, the problems remain and it is something that we will need to continue to communicate to find ways to avoid such incidents. And of course, as ever, whenever this issue comes up, I always bring up the plight of our fishermen,” he added.

The President stated that he requested a meeting with President Xi once again to express his concern on some of the incidents happening between the Chinese and Philippine vessels, culminating in an actual collision.

“And hopefully to find ways to avoid that and have ways to move forward from this situation. Essentially, we tried to come up with mechanisms to lower the tensions in South China Sea,” he further stressed.

Prior to today’s meeting, President Marcos Jr. had a similar discussion with United States of America (USA) Vice President Kamala Harris during a pull-aside meeting the other day. According to a readout by The White House, both the President and the U.S. Vice President reiterated their respective nations’ shared commitment to upholding international rules and norms, including the South China Sea.