Filtered By: Topstories

Roque: Philippines hoping for better relations, increased economic ties with China

The Philippines expressed hope for better relations and increased economic ties with China as the two countries marked the 45th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship on Tuesday.

In a televised briefing, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque said the relations between the two nations is “enjoying a renaissance” under the Duterte administration.

“We hope that this renaissance will lead to better relations in resolving all the disputes that we have between the two countries, increased economic ties, increased prosperity for both [the] Philippines and China,” Roque said.

The Philippines and China established diplomatic relations on June 9, 1975.

Duterte has visited China at least five times since he took office in June 2016. In his first trip to the Asian powerhouse in October 2016, the Filipino leader heralded a “springtime” in diplomatic relations that have been strained by the maritime row in the disputed South China Sea.

Chinese President Xi Jinping made a reciprocal visit in November 2018, which resulted in the signing of 29 agreements including the memorandum of understanding on cooperation on oil and gas development in the South China Sea. 

Duterte’s decision to temporarily set aside the country's arbitration victory on the maritime dispute has led to a marked improvement in Manila’s economic and diplomatic relations with Beijing, but angered critics who accuse him of kowtowing to China.

The President also insisted that he would not provoke the Asian power into war in the South China Sea as this would only result in a massacre of government troops.

“Over the past 45 years, China and the Philippines have continually deepened mutual political trust,” China’s Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said in a statement.

“The bilateral relationship has been steadily upgraded, from 21st century-oriented cooperative relationship of good neighborliness and mutual trust to the strategic and cooperative relationship for peace and development, and then the relationship of comprehensive strategic cooperation.” — Virgil Lopez/RSJ, GMA News