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.
PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has warned China of “suicide missions” in the South China Sea.
By Claire Anderson
PUBLISHED: 00:56, Mon, Apr 15, 2019
UPDATED: 07:24, Mon, Apr 15, 2019
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Mr Duterte’s warning followed China’s increased presence around Pag-asa island, also known as Thitu. The island has reportedly been swarmed by hundreds of Chinese vessels. Mr Duterte said at a press conference: “I will not plead or beg, but I am just telling you that lay off the Pag-asa because I have soldiers there.
South China Sea: Philippines order Beijing to STOP endangering fisherm
“If you touch it, that’s another story.
“Then I will tell my soldiers ‘prepare for suicide missions’.”
The Philippines President has previously kept China as a close ally in the hope to attract trade and investment.
But he has called on the Chinese ships’ presence an “illegal” violation of Philippine sovereignty.
The country’s warning to China has reportedly strengthened the Philippine’s alliance with the US who are fighting to push back China’s hold on the disputed waters.
Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “China’s island building and military activities in the South China Sea threaten Philippine sovereignty, security and therefore economic livelihood, as well as that of the United States.
“As the South China Sea is part of the Pacific, any armed attack on Philippine forces, aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defence obligations under Article 4 of our mutual defence treaty.”
The US Navy and participated in drills alongside the Philippines to practice recapturing small islands seized by a hypothetical foreign military force.
In the exercises, the US also tested a new application for its amphibious assault ships.
The waters are the world’s busiest trade route is also claimed by the likes of Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei.
So far, the US has conducted 15 freedom of navigation operations in the area since 2015.
The US also want allies to consider similar manoeuvres.
Source: Express “South China Sea: Philippines WARNS China of ‘suicide missions’ as alliance weakens”
Note: This is Express’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
US Analist Doug Bandow, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, refutes US Secretary of State Pompeo’s exaggeration of China’s threat in his article “The Philippines ‘Mutual’ Defense Treaty Isn’t Really Mutual at All” published by National Interest on April 7. He says that Pompeo’s statement “China’s island-building and military activities in the South China Sea threaten your (the Philippines’) sovereignty, security, and therefore economic livelihood, as well as that of the United States,” is false in almost every way.
The disputes between PRC and Philippines concern only a few rocks that do not affect Philippines’ survival or have much corresponding impact on Americans, according to the article.
Pompeo’s attempt to instigate the Philippines to fight China and promise that the US will perform its obligations under itsmutual defense treaty with the Philippines will again disappoint the Philippines. The US instigated the Philippines to file an arbitration case at the International Arbitration Court at the Hague and helped it obtain a favorable arbitration decision, but failed to force China to accept it. As a result, the Philippines got nothing after it has spent tens of millions of US dollars for the arbitration.
This time the Philippines has learnt its lesson from the arbitration. It now does not want to be involved in a war between the US and China. The article quotes Filipino Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as saying “It is not the lack of reassurance that worries me. It is being involved in a war that we do not seek and do not want.”
The Philippines does not seek or want a war with China though Ponpeo wants!
In fact, no one in the world but the US and Islamic terrorists want war. The US has invaded Iraq on false excuse. Its forces of aggression have remained in Afghanistan for over a decade, causing the death of many people there.
Islamic terrorists have trained and sent Uyghur terrorists to China. China has detained them and set up vocational schools to educate those affected by terrorists. It has thus succeeded in preventing terrorist attack. Nearly all Muslim countries do not oppose that but the US does as a war between Uyghur terrorists and Chinese people it hopes for has not emerged.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on National Interest’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/philippines-mutual-defense-treaty-isnt-really-mutual-all-50772
China regards its Belt and Road initiative as an international one and invites other countries to join it in building infrastructures under its Belt and Road initiative.
As mentioned in my previous posts, such infrastructures, especially power plants, may be profitable and facilitate establishment of foreign enterprises. Moreover, infrastructures contribute to economic development that may expand Germany and Japan’s market there. As a result, Europe’s largest economy Germany and Japan, Asia’s largest economy except China, have expressed their interest in the initiative.
True enough, according to Asian Review’s report “Japan makes infrastructure push into Southeast Asia”, Japan wants and is making preparations to invest in infrastructures in Cambodia and the Philippines, which, first of all, may benefit China as both countries are close to China.
No matter how hard the US has been trying to demonize China by describing China’s Belt and Road as “colonialism” or “debt diplomacy or trap”, China’s win-win cooperation brings prosperity to both China and the countries concerned. It is an initiative for the benefit of the international community with shared destiny as a whole. The US is welcome to join China if it is willing. However, the US has conducted and wanted to conduct regime changes in the world in order to control other countries with the pretext of establishing democracy there. What it has done has resulted in domestic conflicts and even chaos in the countries affected. Libya is a typical example.
However, such regime changes do not benefit other developed countries such as Germany and Japan. Seeing the benefit of profits, investment and market expansion, they will, after all, join China in building infrastructures where necessary and feasible. The US will be isolated if it keeps on its opposition.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Asian Review’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-Relations/Japan-makes-infrastructure-push-into-Southeast-Asia.
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.
Reuters says in its report “ASEAN, China agree ‘milestone’ text as basis for South China Sea talks” on August 2, “Southeast Asian nations and China have reached a “milestone” in talks with China over a code of conduct in the South China Sea with a working text that will serve as a basis for future negotiations, Singapore’s foreign minister said on Friday.”
The US helped the Philippines obtain a favorable arbitration award to deny China’s historical rights and interests, but the Philippines cannot enforce it as the UN immediately declared that the arbitration court was not a UN agency so that the Philippines cannot seek remedy from the International Court of the UN.
The US sent two aircraft carrier groups to scare China so as to force it to accept the award, but China challenged the US to war. Having no geographical advantages in a war near China, the US refused to fight.
China, though has military superiority over not only its neighbors but also the US in the areas near China, prefers win-win cooperation to jointly exploit the natural resources in the South China Sea.
In fact, China is entirely able to exploit the resources alone as no one even the US can stop it. The Scarborough standoff is a good example. The Philippines sent its navy to ban Chinese fishermen fishing there. China sent its navy to drive away Philippine fishing boats and had the fish resources exclusively. The US simply refused to help the Philippines so that Philippine fishermen could not fish in the sea area around the shoal until its new president Duterte had improved relations China.
Yes, all claimants want to exclusively have the resources they claim except China who is willing to share through win-win cooperation. Since they cannot rely on US help to get the resources exclusively, they shall think themselves lucky to be able to conduct win-win cooperation with China. That is why smooth progress has been made in having consensus on the code of conduct so quickly.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-asean-singapore-southchinasea/asean-china-agree-milestone-text-as-basis-for-south-china-sea-talks-idUSKBN1KN14V.