Bei­jing, Manila agree on $3.7b in shared projects

China Daily European Weekly - - China News - By ZHANG YUNBI and JING SHUIYU

Of­fi­cials rep­re­sent­ing Bei­jing and Manila shook hands on joint projects worth $3.7 bil­lion on Jan 23 dur­ing a meet­ing in the Chi­nese cap­i­tal.

The agree­ment was the lat­est ev­i­dence of warm­ing ties be­tween China and the Philip­pines.

While the spe­cific types of deals and lo­ca­tions were not re­vealed, the pack­age is the ini­tial in­stall­ment of planned co­op­er­a­tive projects aim­ing to im­prove liveli­hoods, Min­is­ter of Com­merce Gao Hucheng told re­porters at a news brief­ing. The brief­ing came af­ter dis­cus­sions with a del­e­ga­tion led by Philip­pines Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez.

Dominguez, in China from Jan 22 to Jan 24, led a heavy­weight del­e­ga­tion, in­clud­ing min­is­te­rial of­fi­cials re­spon­si­ble for ar­eas such as eco­nomic plan­ning, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, fi­nanc­ing and pub­lic projects.

For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said that sev­eral Filipino min­is­ters have led del­e­ga­tions to China re­cently to dis­cuss such ar­eas as trade, in­fras­truc­ture and energy.

It has “fully show­cased the con­sis­tent in­crease in mu­tual trust and in­creas­ingly deep­ened co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tion­ships,” Hua said on Jan 23.

Also on Jan 23, the two sides agreed to a speedy re­sump­tion of meet­ings of the China-Philip­pines Joint Com­mis­sion on Eco­nomic and Trade Co­op­er­a­tion, an im­por­tant body that ground to a halt in 2012 as the re­la­tion­ship de­te­ri­o­rated over ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty is­sues.

Vice-Premier Wang Yang, who met with the Philip­pines del­e­ga­tion, said the coun­tries also should gear up their joint ef­forts in draft­ing a plan for bi­lat­eral eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion and press ahead with their pri­or­ity bi­lat­eral projects.

China is now the sec­ond-largest trade part­ner of the Philip­pines.

The re­la­tion­ship warmed markedly af­ter Philip­pines Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte paid his first state visit to China in Oc­to­ber. Duterte is ex­pected to make a sec­ond trip to China in May to at­tend an in­ter­na­tional fo­rum on build­ing the China-led Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Manila is seek­ing greater in­fras­truc­ture co­op­er­a­tion within the ini­tia­tive’s frame­work, Dominguez said. “We think that both our gov­ern­ments, as well as both our peo­ples, will move quickly to sup­port (projects un­der) this ini­tia­tive in the Philip­pines.”

Luo Yongkun, a re­searcher in South­east Asian stud­ies at the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, noted that although the Philip­pines’ econ­omy has seen rapid growth in the past few years, it is still weak in in­fras­truc­ture and is in need of for­eign in­vest­ment. Con­tact the writ­ers through zhangyunbi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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