By Wilnard Bacelonia

Chinese former Premier Li Keqiang (Photo from Anadolu) 

MANILA – The hope of Philippines mending relations with China cannot be left to die with former Premier Li Keqiang after suffering a heart attack last week, according to Senator Imee Marcos.

In a statement on Monday, Senator Marcos recalled that during the ASEAN-China Summit held in Cambodia last year, Li told President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. that “what we have in common far outweighs our differences.”

“The lens of history, if not Premier Li’s words, should motivate both China and the Philippines to work towards the peaceful and fair settlement of issues in the West Philippines Sea,” she said.

The lawmaker also recalled the diplomatic relations established by her father, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, with Chairman Mao Zedong in 1974, which helped contained local communist insurgency and also initiated an invaluable friendship China.

“All ideological differences were set aside in the interest of the more urgent concern of peace,” Marcos said.

“As Asians, we should endeavor, through our uniquely Asian ways so well understood by Premier Li, to overcome our differences and instead share a future of development and peace,” she added, citing Li as a “friend of the Philippines who shall be missed.”

Li served as China’s premier from 2013 to 2023 as the second most powerful member of the ruling Chinese Communist Party from 2012 to 2022.

Early this year, President Marcos also met with Li in Beijing wherein the latter expressed China’s commitment to work with the Philippines to better synergize development strategies to promote infrastructure cooperation, continuously deepen economic and trade cooperation, boost bilateral trade, help in achieving food security, among others. (PNA)