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Palace: Xi committed 1 billion yuan to PHL

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China has committed to provide 1 billion yuan (roughly $148 million) to the Philippines, Malacañang said Thursday, as the two countries affirmed their robust ties in Beijing.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo did not provide details about the grant which was announced by China’s President Xi Jinping during his bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte ahead of the opening of the second Belt and Road forum in the Chinese capital on Friday.

Panelo also said Duterte and Xi discussed the framework of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and how this will further help in the economic development of the Philippines.

The Palace official said Xi manifested that China will provide more resources to Luzon and Mindanao to spur regional economic growth, as well as promote Clark Green City through the building of an industrial park.

According to Xi, the BRI will also have an important role in China’s relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), where the Philippines is currently the country coordinator, and in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) through increased cooperation.

“We consider the BRI, as articulated by President Duterte, as another opportunity to renew and reaffirm our valued relationship, which we must continue to foster in the coming years with an aspiration that our fellow Filipinos will feel the true benefits of the PH-China relations,” Panelo said.

Panelo added that Xi also mentioned that the first group of Filipino teachers may soon start teaching English in China.

The Chinese leader also committed to continue donating rice and fingerlings and importing Philippine fruits.

Overall, Panelo said, Duterte had a “fruitful and productive” bilateral meeting with Xi, their first since Xi visited the Philippines in November last year for an inaugural state visit. — BM, GMA News

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