PRRD eyes stronger cooperation with China under ‘Belt and Road’

MANILABelt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation is one of the issues expected to be discussed when President Rodrigo Duterte meets with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday at the MalacaAang Palace.

In an interview with China Media Group, Duterte said he is set to discuss with Xi on how the Philippines and China could deepen cooperation under the BRI framework.

Belt and Road Initiate is an ambitious effort to improve regional cooperation and connectivity which seeks to strengthen infrastructure, trade and investments and people-to-people linkages between China and some 65 other countries.

In May 2017, Duterte and 28 heads of state and government leaders attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing.

Duterte said his administration focuses on improving the country's infrastructure, agriculture and industry to boost the country's growing economy considered as one of the fastest in Asia.

He said the Philippines' massive "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program has been getting assistance through cooperation the two countries have established under BRI.

According to CRI, Duterte said his government will continue to push for peaceful settlement of the West Philippine Sea dispute.

Duterte has expressed full confidence that the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) will be established to maintain peace and stability in the region.

PH-China ties

During the recent 21st ASEAN-China Summit in Singapore, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong formally announced the designation of the Philippines as the country coordinator for the ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations.

Duterte said the first visit of Xi to the Philippines is enough evidence of the improving Philippines-China relations which have been restored under his leadership.

Since Duterte's first visit in Beijing in October 2016, the Philippines and China have signed many cooperation agreements in the field of business, tourism, industry, infrastructure, disaster prevention and people-to-people exchanges.

Duterte believes Xi's Manila visit will further improve the Philippines-China ties which he likened to full blossom of the flower.

He said the potential of both countries is huge with China, as the largest trading partner of the Philippines, continued to bring large investments that provide many job opportunities for the Filipinos.

Trade, commerce

Duterte said the Philippines is ready to promote the direct exchange of the Philippine peso and Chinese Renminbi and use their respective currency in transaction under bilateral trade, according to the CRI report.

Duterte is hoping to expand the volume of exports of Filipino products to China and to promote trade and commerce, defense and maritime cooperation, and fight against pirates, terrorism and illegal drugs.

The President has also commended China for achieving great development for the fast decades, owing it to the Chinese people's hard work.

Xi will kick off his Manila visit by laying a wreath on the monument of national hero Jose Rizal before proceeding to the MalacaAang Palace for an official red-carpet welcome ceremony at the Kalayaan Grounds on Wednesday.

It will be followed by the traditional signing of the guest book and the expanded bilateral meeting between him and Duterte.

After their bilateral meeting, the two leaders will witness the signing or exchange of agreements and then will issue joint statements.

The two leaders will also deliver toast remarks during the state banquet.

On the second day, Xi will meet House Speaker and Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senate President Vicente Sotto III at Shangri-la in Bonifacio Global City.

Before flying back to Beijing, the Chinese leader will have a photo opportunity with leaders of the Filipino-Chinese community also at Shangri-la. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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