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.
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.
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.
Buildup of Mutual Trust between China and Russia
As there has been a long history of enmity between the two giant neighbors, it takes time to build mutual trust for the two to become allies in confronting the US. Russia welcomed China’s veto but still lacked trust in China. It wanted China’s large market for its oil, gas and other natural resources and needed Chinese consumer goods and investment, but refused to provide China with preferential treatment in selling natural resources to China. As a result, there were lots of difficulties for the two in concluding their huge natural gas deal.
Due to lack of trust in China, Russia refrained from joining China in criticizing Japan for Japan’s war crimes in World War II or clearly supporting China’s stances in East and South China Seas.
Fortunately for China, carried away by their success in removing Russian influence in the Middle East, the West began to take over Ukraine that Russia regarded as a vital area for its survival. Russia and the West had contended for the area for a long time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Both had made great efforts to influence the presidential election in Ukraine. Ukraine people were thus split into the pro-EU and pro-Russia camps. There was roughly balance of strength between the two camps so that there was sometimes a pro-Russian and sometimes a pro-EU Ukrainian president. Before the recent civil war in Ukraine, Russia had succeeded in having a pro-Russia president elected in Ukraine. China supported the pro-Russia president with lots of aids when he visited China while Ukraine agreed to sell advanced weapons and weapon technology to China.
To further contain Russia, the EU wanted Ukraine to join EU, which may lead to Ukraine joining NATO in confronting Russia. The pro-Russia president opposed that. With EU support, the pro-EU camp launched a street revolution and overthrew the pro-Russia president. To have a NATO member as its neighbor is utterly unacceptable to Russia. It sent troops to annex Crimea and set up pro-Russia militia to fight for independence in Ukraine’s two major industrial states.
The US took the lead to interfere by imposing sanctions on Russia while China helped Russia counter the sanctions. The West led by the US has thus pushed Russia entirely into China’s arms.
South China Sea
In Asia, the US has intensified its pivot to Asia to contain China. It exploited China’s disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea to pit China’s neighbors against China. It helped the Philippines obtain an arbitration ruling that entirely denies China’s historical rights and interests in the South China Sea and sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to force China to comply with the ruling. China simply rejects the ruling while Russia firmly supports China’s stance. The US has thus pushed China further into Russia’s arms. Now, there has been de facto alliance between China and Russia.
Obama’s diplomatic blunders have caused the US to have two powerful enemies. Perhaps, Obama looked down on Russia and believed that he can deal with China easily even if China had Russia as its ally to help it. However, some US military experts do not think so. They believe that Russia-China alliance is US military’s nightmare. Their worries will be described in the next post.
Article by Chan Kai Yee