Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Citing centuries of cooperation and trade relations that date back to the 1300s, the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines reiterated that her country would "follow a path of peace" in relating to its neighbours.
"China will be a good neighbour," said Ambassador Ma Keqing, who was here on Monday for the city's celebration of the Chinese Spring Festival or Lunar New Year.
Ma cited the centuries of partnership between the two countries which, she said, has brought forth an enduring legacy of diligence and entrepreneurship among Chinese-Filipinos and Filipino communities.
Ma and her party were honoured with a banquet by Baguio's Chinese-Filipino community and the city government on Monday.
"We have cooperated both in times of war and in peace," she said, citing how local Chinese had fought with Filipinos during World War II.
She said this "long history of cooperation" must be nurtured.
China and the Philippines have been engaged in a diplomatic spat over territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) that the two countries are claiming.
Tension also rose between the two countries when Chinese fishing vessels and military ships entered the Scarbourough Shoal (Bajo de Masinloc) off Zambales, which the Philippines asserts to be its territory. The shoal is an important fishing ground for Filipino fishermen and lies within the country's exclusive economic zone.
After attending a parade celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year here on Monday, Ma cited Baguio as an example where Filipinos and Chinese "have completely integrated with one another".
She said she was impressed at how the city government, starting in 1997, has institutionalised the celebration of the Chinese Spring Festival or Lunar New Year as part of the city's and Chinese-Filipino community's way of promoting cooperation and understanding.
"What we need is a common and deliberate concern for each other based on mutual trust," Ma said, adding that China would "follow a path of peaceful development."
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