Amidst sovereignty issues, China set aside any misunderstanding and allowed its Chinese navy ship to visit the Philippines on a goodwill tour.
Chinese Navy Ship, Qi Jiguang Visits the Philippines on a Goodwill Tour
The Philippines is the last Asian country the Chinese navy ship visited during its goodwill tour. Hundreds of cadets aboard the vessel made a port call as China tried to settle differences with the region.
Cadets in white stood on the deck of the ship Qi Jiguang as they received the warm welcome of the Philippine military officials waiting onshore. Artists in dragon costumes carried out a traditional dance while spectators waved Philippine and Chinese flags. It will end its almost 40-day voyage in the country for its 476 naval cadets. It includes the Dalian Naval Academy sailors from China.
Qi Jiguang is China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy’s largest naval training ship and will dock in the port for three days. Before its port call in Manila, it made stops in Brunei, Thailand, and Vietnam. Only Chinese-Filipino community members can board the ship, but it will be open to the public on Thursday and Friday.
It might be unusual for a Chinese naval ship to the Philippines, given that the government is strengthening its military ties with the US. It included more joint military exercises and provided the American military with greater access to the country’s military facilities. The ship arrived in Manila a week after joint law enforcement drills between the Japanese, US, and Philippine coast guard.
Setting Aside Indiferrences
Qi Jiguang made it to Manila South Harbor in the Philippines not to attack the country but on a goodwill visit. From June 14 to 17, it will stay docked and hold open-day activities to welcome the naval ship’s visit, including cadets and sailors. Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said the arrival of the Chinese naval ship was a goodwill visit.
Several things have occurred between the Philippine and Chinese coastguards in the past few months. It included Chinese coastguards’ alleged obstruction and shooting of water cannon at the Philippine coastguards’ supply boat. There’s also the harassment of Philippine fisherfolk by the said foreign coastguards, to name a few.
However, on Wednesday, maritime issues were disregarded for the time being for the final journey of the Qi Jiguang’s 40-day regional tour. The Chinese naval ship is 165 meters long and weighs 9,000 tonnes, with a maximum speed of 22 knots.
In the succeeding days, Chinese officers and cadets will explore a Philippine Navy ship and perform a passing exercise. Likewise, they will participate in friendship sports tournaments.
This is Qi Jiguang’s first visit to the Philippines under the Marcos Jr administration. Last week, President Marcos said that the country didn’t shift away from China. He said that even if there are differences between the two Asian countries, it’s not something that will characterise their relationship.
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