MANILA Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on Tuesday described the 'Welcome to the Philippines, province of China' banners as a threat to the improving China-Philippines relations.
It is bad for bilateral relationship and it is also bad for the Filipino people, Zhao said in a media interview during the groundbreaking ceremony for two China-aid bridge projects along Pasig River, which was led by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Contrary to the banners' words, Zhao said the Philippines could never become part of China, not now, not ever.
The red tarpaulin banners were found in some streets of Metro Manila on July 12, exactly two years after the international arbitration court ruled in favor of the Philippines' case lodged against China's nine-dash line map that nearly covers the whole of South China Sea.
It's kind of a vicious attack not only on our relations but also on the independent foreign policy of President Duterte and his administration, Zhao said.
The banners had sparked fury, with MalacaAang calling it a handiwork of the enemies of the government.
Perhaps they are just trying to provoke because they are obviously propagating a lie that we have given up in our national territory, Roque said.
Roque said it is farthest from the truth because we continue to assert our sovereignty and sovereign rights while adopting foreign policies that promote friendship and bring benefits to the Filipino people.
In his speech, Zhao said the ground breaking of the two bridges would serve as another fresh starting point of more achievements expected to upgrade and enrich the two countries relations.
By doing so, we can and will truly bring more tangible benefits to our two peoples and to the region, Zhao said.
The grant agreement for the two bridges was signed by Duterte and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during the Chinese leader's visit to Manila in November last year.
According to the Department of Public Works and Highways, the PHP4.243 billion Binondo-Intramuros Bridge project has two-way four lanes with a total length of 734 meters.
It is envisioned to provide Binondo District a new link to the Walled City of Intramuros and vice versa.
On the other hand, the PHP1.229 billion Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge is a 506.46-meter reconstructed bridge traversing the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong.
Chinese contractor China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) will construct the two bridges, which Zhao said, will serve as a symbol of the growing amity and friendship of the Philippines and China.
With the up and running of the bridges, we will not only celebrate better connectivity in Metro Manila, but also celebrate the ever growing amity and friendship between our two countries, Zhao said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency