Philippines’ Marcos Open to Military Exchanges With China

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(Bloomberg) -- Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he’s open to military exchanges with China, as he sought ways to expand ties between the two nations beyond the South China Sea territorial dispute.

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Marcos said at a briefing Tuesday he will “find ways to work to resolve the conflicts” with Beijing when he meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The Southeast Asian nation’s links with China should be strengthened and are not limited to the disputed sea, Marcos added.

“Let’s add to that: let’s have cultural exchanges, educational exchanges, even military, if that will be useful,” the Philippine leader said.

Wang Yi is visiting the Philippines Tuesday and Wednesday.

The two nations’ tensions in the contested waters have heightened in the past weeks, with Manila protesting Beijing’s alleged illegal fishing and shadowing of Filipinos’ boats. The Philippines has also ended oil exploration talks with China.

Marcos earlier said he plans to negotiate a deal with China to resolve the dispute, while also planning to uphold Philippine sovereignty and its military alliance with the US.

(Updates with more Marcos comments throughout.)

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