Beijing eyes military cooperation with Manila

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AS the treaty alliance between the Philippines and the United States slowly turns sour, the Chinese ambassador said a stronger military cooperation between Manila and Beijing was in the offing.

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Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said an enhancement of military ties between the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) foes was “something we are looking at.”

“I think, first of all, because of the differences we have in the South China Sea, the two militaries need to talk to each other to enhance trust and mutual confidence to avoid incidents of misunderstanding because no country, including China and the Philippines, wants conflict or tension,” he told reporters last week.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced plans to buy arms from China and Russia, allowing them to finally have a foothold in the Philippine arms market, in which 75 percent of weapons come from the US.

The two powers have agreed to 25-year soft loans that would allow the Philippines to purchase weapons, said Duterte.

Apart from military deal, Beijing wants to enhance cooperation with Manila in areas such as infrastructure, transportation, industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries.

“Investments from China in the Philippines, it’s going to be very good for the economic and social development of the Philippines. And China is willing to be an active participant in President Duterte’s socioeconomic agenda so that we can prove together with the Philippines that we are good neighbors, we’re good partners and we are brothers,” Zhao said.

Zhao said that the upcoming visit of Duterte to Beijing, reportedly on October 20, was still being arranged.
“I think warming up relations with China has its own merits … we will promote not only friendship and cooperation between the two countries, but we will also contribute to the development of the Philippines,” he said.

“We have differences but we can talk and I believe we’re patient and wise enough to seek a peaceful solution to whatever differences we have in the South China Sea,” Zhao said.

Professor Richard Javad Heydarian of De La Salle University’s political science department said Philippines-China ties were “already warming” after reaching a low point over the sea dispute.

He said Duterte was doing good in establishing relations with other major powers, especially in engaging with China bilaterally to ease longstanding tensions in the West Philippine Sea and revive economic ties with the Asian giant.

On Duterte’s China visit, he said: “The signal will be very clear: The Philippines is no longer just a Western ally, that the Philippines is an independent country, that it chooses its foreign policy priorities depending on what the national interest dictates.”

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16 Comments

  1. These are exciting times for the Philippine people.

    Fixing drug addicted societies is a very complex thing. The last U.N. report tells us that 2.1% of the entire Philippine population is using Shabu. That scale of addiction could easily destroy the Philippines as a functioning country. The course that Duterte has chosen is perhaps the lesser of two evils. Provided, of course, that he has a plan to bring back the Rule of Law

    Interesting that the Shabu epidemic is primarily overseen by PRC based crime families. Perhaps some of Zhao Jianhua’s soft loans will find their way back to the mainland through ‘irregular’ channels.

    Ultimately, the Philippines will learn to balance between the two giants. Will the Chinese be less rapacious than the Americans? Let us hope that Duterte is wise enough to encourage transparency in all economic ties with both giants and allows the courts to be true to the Law.

  2. Galen Manapat on

    Richard , I do not disagree with anything you have said BUT

    My perspectives are “mixed” as my father was Filipino and I have grown up American Quite frankly I don’t see this as much more than Chinese “schmoozing” or bamboozling of the Filipino president who is obviously anti American. I would pay the new Philippine president more attention EXCEPT that Duterte is much more frightening than Donald Trump !

    It is reported that he has personally murdered political opponents. He slaughters drug users like they are vermin or ants. You could never say that about Donald Trump. No matter how much we detest those involved in drugs, (using and selling) How can a country like the US support a leader of a nation who promotes the unbridled “extermination” of the “trouble makers” WITHOUT LEGAL RECOURSE TO A PROPER TRIAL AND THE RULE OF LAW ? (They make trouble, we kill them !) His attitude is VERY ASIAN ! , very Atheistic even.

    So maybe that is why he is so comfortable with the Chinese Atheists.

    Yes, this guy is a crazy. So how do I feel about the Chinese 800 lb. Gorilla in the Asian Southeastern Room ?

    In short, the US either acquiesces to the Chinese, (vote Democrat, if you are American) or one day as China oversteps its bounds in the next fifteen years, (perhaps reuniting Taiwan via a military invasion of Taiwan) the US fights for Taiwan (more likely with a Republican administration) (and perhaps no one else)
    to uphold larger principles, and stand with Brunei, Viet-Nam, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, and Philippine interests.

    I served on the USS Eaton DD-510 in the 70’s and visited Taiwan once or twice. They have a ceremony in which once a day they fire a small cannon at the Chinese Mainland twice a day to say that they are still at war with the Communists. I was very impressed by that at the time.

    That’s called a war (which can be long or short). Is Duarte serious? Get all your military aircraft, subs, ships from Russia, on the other side of the world? From an ally of China ?

    If the Philippines EVER fought against China, does this dummy think he would ever get spare parts during a conflict with China ?

    And by the way India is less than thrilled with their relationship with Russia (buying military equipment at bargain prices) Much of their equipment does not work well or at all, and guess what ? The Russians only fix the problems if you offer them a great deal more money, which is why India is now gravitating towards the west.

    • Chinese Atheist..? And U Son of Demon.? China has the three religious roots of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Please don’t promote your Ignorance and Arrogance. For 495 years, Filipinos have been subservient to colonisers. Until today, your people still don’t have a mind of their own to govern Philippines, still dependent on handouts from US, Japan and donations. Your people are extremely lucky to have President Duterte, a political saviour for his people and country. Your past Presidents are traitors to Philippines, selling out the country to be used by the US. Philippines can never be a true sovereign country as long as there are large numbers of US military bases. Why.? from Washington, the US easily controls Philippines foreign diplomacy and domestic politics. Consider your people extremely lucky if President Duterte can negotiate bilaterally with China to invest Billions of dollars into Philippines infrastructure, transportation, railways, hospitals and upgrade your pathetic military. Your Govt. is too poor to build a drug rehabilitation centre requesting China to build it for free. U need to research before exposing your ignorance. Even during the past decades of Christian missionaries, it was the Chinese Govt. that provided food on the long voyage to the Catholic churches to alleviate starvation and poverty.

    • ‘It is reported that he has personally murdered political opponents”

      It is reported by his political opponents and provided a fake witness that he has murdered a political opponent, but was later denied by this political opponent.

      There, fix it for you. Please do more research than trying to pain a black picture of a man you do not know.

  3. It is good to be friends with China, but beware, they have looted fat fish, resources, minerals, forests and pockets of Filipinos. Watch your back always.

  4. You are our good neighbors, brothers etc..etc…..as long as WPS is owned exclusively by China. We give you all the investments that we mentioned but how big or small is all up to us. China will give you 25-year soft loan to acquire military equipment with 3-month warranty. Meaning we will control you for the next 25 years.

  5. People of the Philippines and it’s President within the context of trilateral strategic relationship between US, China and the Philippines, decisions must be weighed very carefully. The political firebrand Pres. Duterte is clamouring in alliance shift to China and Russia from US will surely lead to extreme difficulties for the Philippines. We need only look at Cuba’s alliance with Russia, progress in Cuba stood still from the 1950s’. So what kind of progress can we expect from China compared to Russia.

    • Good Lord, please don’t expose your ignorance….Research! Research! Cuba stood still because of US Not China or Russia. Sanctions were lifted by the US recently….Good Grief…No wonder the University rankings in Philippines is over 2,000.

  6. Your a bunch of idiots, let Duterte sell the Philippines out to China. You will regret it, they have taken your territory and are on your doorstep. It was the USA that rescued the Philippines from Japan. We lost thousands of lives in doing so but how quickly you forget that. Continue on the path you are on under Duterte and you deserve what you get.

    • A lot of Filipinos are loyal to United States. Russia nor China did not save the Philippines from the Japanese. The Americans are always there when we need them. We had bled and died with Americans for many generations. We sware on General MacArthur’s grave that we will never side with America’s enemies, not without a civil war.

    • so why did your government guaranteed the mutual defense treaty with Japan applies to the senkaku islands but the mutual defense treaty with the philippines does not apply to scarborough shoal?

  7. Richard Caroll on

    China has seized the property of the Philippines, denied fishing areas to the Filipino people, and the Philippines want to enter into a military alliance with them.

    The Philippines are a sovereign nation, and their decisions on this should be respected.

    But with the tilt of the Philippines to China, the US as of necessity should seek friends elsewhere, and not interfere in the polity of the Philippine people.

    • He is simply being realistic. He knows we are not going to war against China to kick them out of those islands. Our mutual defense treaty with the Philippines does not cover the islands. As long as China keeps its salami slicing in the non-military gray zone, they win. Fact is that China is the giant next door and a rapidly rising power to boot. The Philippines has to live with that reality.