By Mario J. Mallari –
April 29, 2019 12:05 AM
The short three-day swing of President Rodrigo Duterte to Beijing was hailed as one of his most successful foreign visits after clinching a commitment for peace from President Xi Jinping and $12 billion pledge of new investments.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. described the visit as a “raging success.”
“Actually the Belt and Road Forum (visit) is a raging success,” declared Locsin in a social media post.
Locsin was among the Cabinet members who joined President Duterte during the four-day visit to China.
Apart from attending the Second Belt and Road Forum on International Cooperation, Mr. Duterte had bilateral meetings with Xi and Premier Li Keqiang.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo noted Duterte’s trip paved the way for the signing of 19 business agreements on investments such as in energy, infrastructure including tourism-related facilities and for the speeding up of internet connectivity, improving agriculture productivity and providing Filipinos with skills training.
“As Mr. Duterte noted, the People’s Republic of China is the largest trading partner and a major source of foreign investments of the Philippines,” Panelo said.
Panelo disclosed the President also met with top Chinese leaders where he affirmed the country’s commitment to friendship and understanding with China.
Area of restraint
“He expressed the country’s readiness to pursue more high-quality and good-impact projects,” Panelo said.
Duterte’s bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping yielded a 1 billion renminbi (over P7 billion) grant to the Philippines,” he added.
Duterte reiterated to Xi his resolve to endeavor to make the West Philippine Sea (WPS) a sea of peace, stability and prosperity.
“He expounded the need for both countries to exercise restraint and caution to avoid actions that could complicate situations,” Panelo said.
Meanwhile, Panelo pointed out that President Duterte also advocated the protection and welfare of migrant workers during the High-Level Meeting Session 1 of the forum.
Duterte pitched for the development assistance based on reciprocal benefits, Panelo added.
In his last day in China, Panelo said. Duterte attended the Leaders’ Roundtable Sessions in the Yanqi Lake International Conference Center where he emphasized the value of the nations, especially in Asia, working together with a shared goal of inclusive and sustainable growth and prosperity.
“He welcomed economic investments that will help our country improve its economic productivity in the area of agriculture as well as in our country’s massive infrastructure development program while ensuring that it will be clean and green,” Panelo said.
Panelo, meanwhile, assured Filipinos that Duterte is chartering an “independent foreign policy to a new height of diplomatic relations with other nations.”
He said this independent policy will be solely based on national security and interest, national development and the aspiration to attain economic progress and a comfortable life.
During the bilateral meeting between Duterte and Xi, the Philippines also bagged a 1-billion renminbi grant from China.
The investment agreements were worth $12.165 billion and could generate 21,000 fresh jobs for Filipinos.
Duterte vowed to prospective foreign investors an enabling environment in the Philippines to help their businesses and investments prosper, highlighting his administration’s anti-corruption campaign.”
Locsin said the Philippines and China also agreed to ensure that the implementation of projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are free from corruption.
“Another agreement is a clean Belt and Road Initiative between China and Philippines anti-corruption bodies to prevent and punish corruption in BRI projects,” Locsin said in a separate post.
Peaceful negotiations remain the sole option for the country in addressing the WPS issue with China, according to former Senate President and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino senatorial bet Juan Ponce-Enrile.
Enrile cited Republic Act (RA) 9522 or the Philippines Archipelagic Baselines Law as basis in pursuing the country’s claims over the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and the Scarborough Shoal in the WPS.
“The KIG or the regime of islands there are under our baseline law. We should negotiate that with China,” Enrile told the Daily Tribune.
“The only capability we have is through negotiations, we must use patience in negotiating with China,” he added.
Enrile, one of the authors of RA 9522, said the Philippine baselines law was provided under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas.
Commitment to laws
“The baseline law not only enabled us to defend, protect and preserve our own national territory but also to signify the Philippines’ strong commitment to adhere to the tenets of the international law of the seas,” Enrile said.
The former Senate President reiterated that close cooperation and enhanced bilateral relations with China is the right path.
Earlier, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the Philippines will focus on the positive sides of the relationship with China rather than the differences, like the dispute in the WPS.
He, however, stressed the Duterte administration is not remiss in its constitutional duty of protecting the country’s sovereignty and territory.
Source: Tribune “Beijing tour ‘raging success’”
Note: This is Tribune’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
If all the agreements are implemented by the Filipino and Chinese companies, they could bring in $12.2 billion worth of investments, says Malacañang
Pia Ranada @piaranada
Published 8:47 PM, April 26, 2019
Updated 8:47 PM, April 26, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Nineteen agreements with Chinese companies were signed during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China in April for the Belt and Road Forum.
The agreements, if all push through, could bring $12.165 billion (P634 trillion) worth of investments to the Philippines and could provide employment to 21,000 Filipinos, said Malacañang on Friday, April 26.
This is a staggering amount considering that the government’s entire budget for 2019 is P3.7 trillion. The Palace does not provide a breakdown of the estimated trillions in investment value.
Earlier that day, Duterte and Cabinet officials attended a forum with Chinese and Filipino businessmen interested in collaborating for ventures in the Philippines or that involve hiring Filipinos or buying Philippine products.
The 19 deals are a mix of memoranda of understanding, memoranda of agreement, purchase agreements, and one contract agreement.
Below is the list of agreements:
One of the deals is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the “construction and development of a nationwide public wi-fi system.”
It was signed by Salvador Zamora III, Tranzen Group chairman, and Luo Ning, chairman of CITIC Network Co Ltd, a Chinese company.
The project is supposed to establish a wi-fi network in “various capital cities and towns” in the Philippines which includes a network that will enable emergency services and information services, digital TV and satellite network services, “smart city” digital and internet services with fiber and wi-fi, and “other telecommunication services.”
There was also a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the training of Filipinos to serve as domestic helpers in China.
The MOA to “establish a strategic partnership to train and to introduce Filipino Domestic Helpers to China” was signed by Morrys Ang of the Philippine International Overseas Management Systems, Inc and Gao Wen of Guofa Major Project Management Co Ltd.
Among the more concrete deals signed was a contract agreement for a proposed South Pulangi Hydroelectric Powerplant.
It was signed by Josue Lapitan, president and CEO of Pulangi Hydro Power Corporation. On the Chinese side, it was signed by Dong Bin, chairman of China Energy Co Ltd.
Six agreements involved the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority led by its administrator, Raul Lambino:
•MOU on proposed CEZA Asparas Yacht Club
•MOU on proposed Green Textile Industry Park
•MOU on proposed expansion of the Lallo Airport or Cagayan North International Airport
•MOU on a proposed integrated resort with theme parks and amenities, manufacturing plant for lithium batteries, duty-free supermarket for imported and local merchandise, township development with support infrastructure and utilities, financial technology solutions center
•MOU on establishment of fintech hub and financial center with entertainment facilities, dormitories, supermarket, restaurants, and coffee shops, and the development of an integrated resort and boutique hotel
•MOU on proposed establishment of a “comprehensive smart city”
Two agreements were actual purchase framework agreements. Chinese company Goodfarmer Foods Holding agreed to buy pineapples from Philippine company PhilPack Corporation from April 1 to December 2019.
China Artest Corporation Fujian Company said it would buy young coconuts from the Philippines’ Eng Seng Food Products for an entire year, from March 2019 to March 2020.
Duterte’s Special Envoy for China, Fernando “Ding” Borja, is set to fly home with a deal of his own.
His company, Adnama Mining, signed an MOU on the proposed development and operation of an iron processing plant with Chinese companies A Fu Properties and Xiamen C&D. – Rappler.com
Source: Rappler.com “19 deals with Chinese businesses signed during Duterte’s China trip”
Note: This is Rappler.com’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Apr 25 2019 09:26 PM
MANILA—The Philippines is ready to pursue more projects with China under the Belt and Road Initiative, President Rodrigo Duterte told Chinese Premier Li Kequiang Thursday.
Duterte, who is in China for the second Belt and Road Forum, said he wants to “bolster” Manila’s engagements with Beijing during his bilateral meeting with Li.
“The Philippines’ continued participation in this forum is an acknowledgment of the vision of a global connectivity for shared prosperity,” the President said in his opening remarks during the meeting.
“For the signing of the MOU (memorandum of understanding) on cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, the Philippines is ready to pursue more projects with China.”
China’s Belt and Road Initiative plans to connect Beijing to the rest of Asia, Africa, and Europe through a series of ports, railways, roads, and industrial parks.
If fully realized, the global infrastructure plan could set the stage for the world economic landscape in the years to come.
Earlier in the day, Duterte also held a bilateral meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping where he touted “high-quality” projects with China as he sought for Manila’s inclusion in the Belt and Road Forum.
Duterte, who veered away from the Philippines’ oldest ally the United States at the start of his presidency, is visiting China for the fourth time in his 3-year-old presidency.
His visit comes at the heels of rising tensions between Manila and Beijing over disputed areas in the South China Sea.
Duterte had set aside Manila’s victory from a United Nations-backed international court which invalidated China’s sweeping claims over the South China Sea in exchange for closer ties with Asia’s largest economy.
Source: ABS-CBN “Philippines ready for more Belt and Road projects with China: Duterte”
Note: This is ABS-CBN’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
SCMP says in its report “China-Philippine relations ‘never been better’, says ex-president Gloria Arroyo” that during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s just finished visit to the Philippines, the two countries signed 29 deals including a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on oil and gas development in the South China Sea.
Preceding his visit to the Philippines, Xi visited Brunei and agreed with it “on further win-win cooperation in exploiting oil and gas resources in the disputed South China Sea”, according to SCMP’s report “China and Brunei to step up oil and gas development in disputed South China Sea” on November 19.
I said in my comment on SCMP’s that report titled “China Solving South China Sea Disputes by Oil, Gas Exploitation Cooperation” on November 20:
Xi is to visit the Philippines today and may conclude some agreement on cooperation in exploiting oil and gas with the Philippines. As Vietnam and Malaysia also have similar desire on cooperation with China, there are prospects that China’s disputes with its neighbors over the South China Sea will be resolved peacefully through win-win cooperation.
Some may think Philippine current president Duterte’s pro-China strategy is exceptional, but Philippine former president and present speaker of House of Representatives Arroyo precisely adopted a similar pro-China strategy in her nine years as Philippine president until 2010.
During the nine years, the Philippine also cooperated with China on oil and gas development with a US$15 million deal – known as the Joint Maritime Seismic Undertaking – to jointly conduct seismic prospecting for oil in the sea. The deal was later joined by Vietnam.
Arroyo’s successor former President Aquino, instead, is an exception. He tried to exploit US pivot to Asia to deny China’s rights and interests in the South China Sea with US military support, but failed in disgrace. He makes Duterte’s pro-Beijing strategy popular as his failed speculation showed that the US does no care about its ally’s interests. Though Philippines’ military ally, the US is not willing to fight for Philippines’ interests.
That make Duterte’s policy of dumping the US popular among Philippine people.
In fact, Philippine elite knew US selfishness long ago as shown by their driving away of US military bases in the Philippines in the 1990s.
The US believes that it is popular in the Philippines. Duterte’s popularity proves precisely the contrary.
China is popular among developing nations as it respects them, cares for their interests and is generous in providing financial aids for them
SCMP’s another report today “Faced with a mounting economic crisis, the cash-strapped Maldives is looking to renegotiate its piles of Chinese debt” proves precisely that. Its title tries to make readers believe that Maldives is in China’s debt trap, a term Western countries use to demonize China.
The fact reflected in the report proves the contrary.
SCMP quotes China’s ambassador as telling the local Avas.mv website that in fact only about half of the Maldives’ external debt pile of US$1.2 billion was owed to Beijing.
He said the loans carried an interest rate of 2 per cent and a five-year grace period, while also disputing claims of a debt trap.
“We have nothing to gain if a friendly country falls into debt,” he said. “There is no single (piece of) evidence to support the so-called debt trap claim.”
In spite of the busy demonizing by Western politicians and media, China remains popular as it pursues win-win cooperation with other nations. And in spite of US boasting of its so-called good intention to help other nations, the US remains unpopular due to its arrogant invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. interference in other countries’ internal affairs by causing regime changes and exporting its democracy that does not bring prosperity and unity even in its own country.
Comments by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/2174384/china-philippine-relations-never-been-better-says-ex-president and https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/south-asia/article/2174413/faced-mounting-economic-crisis-cash-strapped-maldives-looking.
In my post “Weak Philippines Will Fight China but Powerful US Won’t in SCS! Why?” yesterday, I showed that I believe that Philippine President Duterte is serious in setting the red lines which if China has crossed, the Philippines will fight a war with China. Why? Because it involves too high interests as the energy resources are too valuable for the Philippines.
The Philippines, though weak, its people are brave. Do not look down on them. Lots of US troopers have been killed by Iraqi resistant Islamic extremists who have even established an Islamic state. If China occupies the Philippines, it will encounter similar trouble as Philippine people will be resourceful to find clever ways of resistance.
However, China is certainly not so stupid as the US and European colonists who tried to conquer the Philippines but failed at the end.
SubChina certainly does not believe that Duterte was serious in seting the red lines as it puts a question mark in title of its report “Duterte’s red line?”
Do not look down on weak people. US suffered defeats due to its arrogance. Korean War, Vietnam War, 911 (which could have been prevented if US President Bush had not refused to pay attention to the warning from US intelligence due to his arrogance. He was so arrogant as to believe that the US was capable of fighting two wars simultaneously!) and ISIS still could not wake the US up from its arrogant dream of being an invincible hegemon. Trump seems arrogant but he is really not arrogant so that he has not really started a trade war with China or attacked North Korea but US Congress remains so.
China shall learn lessons from the failures of European and American colonists and never try to conquer or control other countries; therefore, Chinese President’s Belt and Road win-win cooperation is China’s best strategy of economic expansion.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SubChina’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://supchina.com/2018/05/29/is-duterte-serious-about-a-south-china-sea-red-line/
Reuters Staff March 21, 2018
BEIJING (Reuters) – China will prudently advance cooperation with the Philippines on joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea, China’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi said on Wednesday after meeting his Philippine counterpart.
Any potential deals between Manila and Beijing on energy exploration in the disputed waterway should be agreed with a company and not the Chinese government, a senior Philippine official said earlier this month.
China claims most of the South China Sea, a key trade route and home to areas that are believed to hold large quantities of oil and natural gas. Along with China, parts of the South China Sea are subject to competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The two countries in February agreed to set up a special panel to work out how they can jointly explore offshore oil and gas in areas both sides claim, without needing to address the touchy issue of sovereignty.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing after meeting Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Wang said the South China Sea will be turned into a source of friendship and cooperation.
“We will enhance maritime dialogue and pursue equal footed and friendly consultation and in a prudent and steady way advance cooperation on offshore oil and gas exploration,” Wang said, without giving details.
However, pursuing a joint project would be extremely complex and sensitive, as sharing oil and gas reserves could be seen as endorsing the other countries’ claims.
“The Philippines and China are finding a common legal framework to conduct joint exploration and surveys. And with our discussions today I’m confident that we will find a suitable legal framework for our differences,” Cayetano said.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has said China has proposed joint exploration that was “like co-ownership” and better than the two fighting over it.
The Philippines suspended exploration in the Reed Bank in 2014 to pursue a legal challenge to China’s territorial claims.
Included in a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague was a clarification of Manila’s sovereign right to access offshore oil and gas fields, including the Reed Bank, within its 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone.
The Philippines, China’s CNOOC Ltd (0883.HK) and state-owned PetroVietnam jointly surveyed the Reed Bank from 2003 to 2008.
The Philippines’ ties with China have warmed under Duterte, who has put aside territorial disputes in exchange for trade opportunities and pledged financing for infrastructure projects.
Cayetano said Duterte would visit China next month to attend an economic forum on the southern island province of Hainan and meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard, editing by David Evans
Source: Reuters “China says to have ‘prudent’ oil exploration with Philippines”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
In its report “Philippines’ Duterte plays down China military facilities in disputed sea” yesterday, Reuters quotes Philippine President Duterte as saying that China’s construction of military bases on its artificial islands aims at defense against the US rather than confronting its neighboring states.
That is obvious. The construction has been costing China billions of dollars. China’s military has already been much stronger than its neighbors. Shall China have incurred such huge costs to deal with them?
However, Reuters has been trying hard to vilify China by describing China’s nine-dash line as aggression, the construction on the islands as aiming at restricting freedom of navigation in the area and the Court of International Arbitration at the Hague as a UN agency in spite of UN’s denial.
China built the islands to prevent attack by US submarines from the South China Sea when there were obvious danger of that but it refrained from militarizing them to avoid scaring its neighbors. However US Navy’s stupid freedom of navigation operations have provided China with the excuse to militarize them.
Duterte is wise enough to see that, but Philippine pro-US media want to spread false fear among Philippine people to please the US.
Duterte knows clearly that the Philippines cannot rely on the US in its disputes with China over the South China Sea so that it is entirely unable to confront China militarily.
What the Philippines has been fighting for is the rich fishery and energy resources in the South China Sea. China is entirely capable of taking the resources alone as proved by its ban of Philippine fishing at the Scarborough Shoal after the standoff there. The US simply refused to help the Philippines in the standoff as it will not fight for Philippines’ interests.
At the time of the Scarborough standoff, China has not built the artificial islands but the Philippines dared not to confront China militarily without US assistance. That clearly proves that the artificial islands are not necessary for China to deal with its neighbors.
Duterte is wise to become friendly with China so as to enable the Philippine to fish in the area around Scarborough Shoal and share the energy resources with China. Otherwise as China has the military strength and technology to extract the energy resources in the disputed waters alone and the Philippines will simply get nothing.
We shall regard China as generous to allow the Philippines to share the resources that China is wholly entitled to.
China has thus proved that it wants its relations with other countries to be mutually beneficial. That is why in spite of Western media’s vilification China is and will be more popular in the world.
The situation in the South China Sea now is:
China will be able to get the resources in the areas without disputes. In the areas with disputes, it will share with other claimants;
China has built and militarized its artificial islands sufficiently to make the South China Sea its lake; and
The US is unable to attack China with its navy and has to spend billions of dollars for development of new bombers to attack China.
US media such as the Reuters are unhappy with the situation, but they can do nothing except vilifying China. However, as China grows increasingly popular, they will become increasingly unpopular due to their unfounded vilification.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be found at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-china-southchinasea/philippines-duterte-plays-down-china-military-facilities-in-disputed-sea-idUSKCN1G31KQ.