Mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion with Manila seen as trust builder

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By MO JINGXI mo­jingxi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Bei­jing and Manila in the de­fense and se­cu­rity field, if re­al­ized, would fur­ther de­velop the re­la­tion­ship as well as boost mu­tual trust, Chi­nese ob­servers said.

Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte said on Sun­day that he had de­cided to ac­cept an arms deal of­fered by China.

Duterte said he has di­rected Philip­pine De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana to send a gen­eral to for­mally re­ceive the guns from Bei­jing, which were of­fered through what Duterte de­scribed as “a grant payable in 25 years”, ac­cord­ing to the Philip­pine news site Inquirer.net.

How­ever, the Philip­pine De­part­ment of Na­tional De­fense said on Mon­day that the deal has no time­line yet for when de­tails will be fi­nal­ized.

For­eign Min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang told a reg­u­lar news con­fer­ence on Mon­day that China had no­ticed the re­ports.

“As the (China-Philip­pines) re­la­tion­ship im­proves, China is will­ing to re­sume and strengthen bi­lat­eral ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous fields,” he said, with­out con­firm­ing the deal.

Duterte’s visit to China in Octo-

China is will­ing to re­sume and strengthen bi­lat­eral ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous fields.” Geng Shuang, spokesman for For­eign Min­istry

ber marked the over­all im­prove­ment of bi­lat­eral ties, which were soured by his pre­de­ces­sor Benigno Aquino III, who uni­lat­er­ally launched an ar­bi­tra­tion case against China in a dis­pute over the South China Sea.

Dur­ing the visit, the two coun­tries agreed to fo­cus on co­op­er­a­tion and to solve their dis­putes through di­rect talks.

Zhu Feng, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the China Cen­ter for Col­lab­o­ra­tive Stud­ies of the South China Sea at Nan­jing Uni­ver­sity, said the arms deal shows Bei­jing-Manila ties are de­vel­op­ing in a com­pre­hen­sive way, and co­op­er­a­tion in de­fense and se­cu­rity is an im­por­tant re­flec­tion of a bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship.

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