PH economy high on Xi’s November visit – China FM
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Philippine economy is high on the agenda of the historic visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping this November.
Wang also stressed Beijing’s interest in furthering maritime cooperation and proposals for joint development of oil and gas in the resource-rich South China Sea, noting that the Philippines’ handling of its claim in the disputed territories may provide an example to other claimant nations.
“A peaceful and stable South China Sea means a shared interest among regional countries and our shared responsibility in the development of the region, and China is ready to work with the other regional countries to be our partners to further consolidate the region,” said Wang on Monday during a joint press briefing with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
Wang added that China is ready to tap the Philippines and other regional states for maritime cooperation and environmental protection, “to help in the standing cooperation in research, fishery, and we are ready to discuss with the Philippines about joint development of oil and gas.”
As for President Xi’s visit to Manila, Wang said he is interested in following the preparations and offered China’s help to ensure the visit would be fully successful for both countries.
According to Locsin, Xi’s visit would be the first by a Chinese president in 30 years and only the eighth by a high-ranking Chinese official since diplomatic ties were signed 43 years ago.
Meanwhile, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Wang’s visit has resulted in the signing of three bilateral agreements, aside from discussions on the details of economic cooperation agreements expected to be signed during President Xi’s visit.
Dominguez said it was a “productive dialogue” that he hoped will help to “continue expanding the mutually beneficial economic, trade and investment cooperation” between the two countries.
“We are preparing for the upcoming historic visit of President Xi and, of course, the economy is a very important field,” Wang said in the opening statement shortly before the signing of the bilateral documents.
Wang underscored the importance of economic cooperation in strengthening bilateral relations between the Philippines and China and its impact on the well-being of the people of both countries.
Wang noted significant growth in two-way trade between the Philippines and China, as well as of Chinese investments in the Philippines which grew by more than 500 percent in the first six months of 2018. Last year, the growth in level of investment was 67 percent.
Before the meeting, Dominguez said that “China, including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, is now the Philippines’s biggest trading partner with total trade amounting to $44.8 billion in 2017 and $33.5 billion from January to August this year.”
The DOF said the meeting focused on the status of the economic cooperation agreements and documents, particularly those covering Chinese funding support for the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program. These are expected to be signed at Xi’s state visit.
The Philippines and China are expected to sign at least five agreements: loan and guarantee accords, economic and technical cooperation, support for the feasibility studies on the Philippines’s infrastructure projects, and promoting cooperation on key “Build, Build, Build projects” in Mindanao.
The bilateral documents inked after the meeting held at the Marco Polo Hotel on Monday were: The Exchange of Letters for the Feasibility Study of the Davao River Bridge (Bucana) Project, signed by Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana; RMB50-million grant for the Supply of Law Enforcement-Related Materials/ Equipment to the Philippines, signed also by Sta. Romana; and $1-million grant assistance for the victims of Typhoon Vinta in 2017, signed by Defense Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad.
The three documents were signed by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on behalf of China.#