Ambassador: Problems in China-Philippines relations not to be feared

March 21, 2012 Edited by He Shan

Chinese Vice Minister of Agriculture Niu Dun (L2) and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing (L1) attended the opening ceremony. [Photo by Zhang Ming/CNS]

"Problems in China-Philippines relations are not to be feared ." Ma Keqing, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines,said at the opening ceremony of the Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchanges held at the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on March 20.

Ma Keqing started her speech with a story about the "stones." She stressed that both countries should cherish the "paving stones" of Chinese-Philippines relations, forge the "ballast stones" for the new era and move away the "stumbling blocks" ahead.

Ma said, during her visit to the famous attraction of Manila "Spanish Royal City",the Philippine tourguide told her a story: A few centuries ago, many Chinese businessmen came to the Philippines to do business. In order to keep in balance, they used to put some stones at the bottom of the ship. And they would leave behind the stones before leaving the Philippines. Over time, these stones were given a special name, "Chinese stones." The tourguide said with deep affection that Chinese people came to the Philippines for business and friendship. They are the true friends of the Philippine people. In Ma’s later contact with the local communities, similar stories could be heard repeatedly and she was deeply touched.

The "paving stones" of China-Philippines relations should be cherished, Ma said. "The precious legacies of friendship and cooperation left behind by our ancestors are invaluable treasures for both countries. They should be cherished and carried on."

She stressed that the China-Philippines relations are both old and young. Though connections between the two have been in place for thousands of years, the two countries established diplomatic ties only 37 years ago. Based on the "paving stones" left behind by the ancestors, the two peoples have to now build the "ballast stones" for the new era which will be that of "the pragmatic cooperation in various fields." As long as the cooperation goes smoothly, China-Philippines relations will develop steadily.

Ma Keqing also mentioned the importance of moving away the "stumbling blocks" in Chinese-Philippines relations. She believes that it’s perfectly normal to see problems within the China-Philippines relations. "Problems in China-Philippines relations are not to be feared" as long as they are solved properly, the bilateral relations will be strengthened. Opportunities and challenges always exist together. "As long as we make continuous efforts, we will see a dawn of hope."

The Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchange were agreed upon by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Philippines President Benigno Aquino III when the latter paid an official state visit to China last year.

The Chinese Embassy to the Philippines said a series of activities will be held over the upcoming two years covering cultural and people-to-people exchanges, economy, tourism and party-to-party exchanges,all as to nurture the bilateral friendship.