China Wednesday formally opened a consulate in Laoag, northern Philippines, which is praised by both Chinese and Filipino officials as an important event in the development of relations between the two countries.
Chinese Ambassador Li Jinjun, Governor of Ilocos Norte Ferdinand Marcos Jr., former Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos, Philippine Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Francisco Benedicto and 500 other people attended the opening ceremony of the consulate.
Hailing the event as an important step in developing Sino- Filipino relations, Li said the opening of the consulate is the result of efforts by the governments and peoples of the two countries.
Li said Ilocos Norte is the Filipino province which had received the first group of Chinese immigrants hundreds of years ago, therefore striking a historical tie with China since then.
Due to its geographical closeness to China, Laoag and its surrounding areas have now become one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists in the Philippines and are attracting more and more Chinese to come to visit, study and invest, he said.
Li said China wishes to continue and renew the historical tie with northern Philippines by expanding cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, tourism, trade, mining and agriculture.
Governor Marcos said the people of northern Philippines are happy China has chosen Laoag to open its third diplomatic institutions in the country and called on China to invest in the region in the fields of infrastructure, tourism, renewable energy such as wind and solar energy, and agriculture.
He also recalled that his late father, former President Ferdinand Marcos, made a historical visit to Beijing, capital of China, 32 years ago, which he said had proved to be so important for the Philippines considering the excellent relations existing now with China.
Laoag is the biggest city in northern Philippines with a population of 100,000. It is known for tourist resources including the UNESCO-designated world cultural heritage of ancient Church of Paoay, Luzon cigars and wooden furnitures.
The Chinese consulate is the first foreign consulate to be established here.