CHINA has vowed to further deepen friendship and mutual cooperation with the Philippines and continue to provide development assistance through its Belt and Road Initiative.
The assurance was given by Meng Xiangfeng, a member of the central committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in his keynote speech during a gathering organized by the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Thursday.
Meng, also the executive deputy secretary of the Working Committee for Organs under the CPC central committee, said Philippine-China relations made a positive turnaround since the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to China in 2016.
“As a Philippine proverb goes, seize today and you will not lose tomorrow. China is willing to work with the Philippines to seize the day and press on,” Meng told the members of PDP-Laban party led by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd.
“There is great potential in China-Philippines cooperation,” Meng said in his speech.
He noted that mutual beneficial cooperation between the two countries were accelerating because of high-level exchanges in 2017.
Moreover, major progress has been made in the first batch of infrastructure projects while that second batch is well underway, he said.
The Chinese official was referring to soft loans to the Philippines’ three priority projects, namely the South Line of the North-South Railway, the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam and Chico River Pump Irrigation project, grants to build two bridges over the Pasig River, and feasibility studies for the construction of the Davao City Expressway and the Panay-Guimaras- Negros Link Bridge.
He also noted that from January to November 2017, China imported 13,000 batches of tropical fruits from the Philippines and added 14 new air routes between the two countries, resulting in the increase of Chinese visitors to the Philippines.
Bilateral trade, according to Meng, reached $14.5 billion, making China the largest trade partner of the Philippines in 2017.
“We will carry forward the Silk Road Spirit featuring peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning, mutual benefit and win-win to further deepen China-Philippines friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation,” he added.