• PH, China ink coast guard deal, 12 others

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    MAKING FRIENDS President Rodrigo Duterte (left) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

    MAKING FRIENDS President Rodrigo Duterte (left) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

    BEIJING: President Rodrigo Duterte and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of a maritime cooperation agreement and 12 other deals, pledging to enhance trust and deepen cooperation Thursday as Manila seeks to rebalance its foreign policy away from the US.

    China welcomed Duterte – who donned a suit and tie for the occasion – with an official ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square, with the two leaders striding side-by-side down the red carpet inspecting an honor guard, with children cheering.

    Xi called the two countries “neighbors across the sea,” the official Xinhua news agency said.

    Duterte is in China for a four-day trip seen as confirming his tilt away from Washington and towards Beijing’s sphere of influence – and its deep pockets.

    The two leaders held “extensive” and “amicable” official talks and oversaw the signing of bilateral cooperation documents on business, infrastructure, and agriculture, among other fields, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, without giving details.

    In a statement, the foreign ministry quoted Xi as telling Duterte their emotional foundation of friendly and good neighborliness was unchanged, and difficult topics of discussion “could be shelved temporarily.”
    Duterte called the meeting “historic,” it added.

    Maritime deal

    It was unclear whether the Memorandum on Understanding (MOU) on the Establishment of a Joint Coastal Guard Committee on Maritime Cooperation would involve joint patrols in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), which is being contested by the two countries.

    Asked whether the leaders had discussed the South China Sea, the foreign ministry’s Hua said they had a “candid and friendly exchange of views on how to resolve relevant disputes.”

    Their meeting represented a “return to the right track of dialogue and consultation” she said, adding China was willing to make “relevant arrangements” to cooperate on fishery issues.

    Before his trip to Beijing, Duterte said he would demand that China give back Filipinos’ fishing rights in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

    He later on said he would not make any “hard impositions” or ask for concessions from the Chinese during the state visit.

    A UN-backed arbitration court in July ruled in favor of the Philippines on the sea dispute and declared that China’s claims to the South China Sea had no basis. Beijing refuses to recognize the ruling.

    Other deals

    Aside from maritime cooperation, officials from both countries signed 12 agreements on trade, investments and tourism, narcotics and others in an expanded bilateral meeting at the Great Hall.

    These include MOU on Production Capacity and Investment Cooperation; Agreement on Economic and Technological Cooperation between the Government of China and the Philippines; the MOU on Strengthening Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation; the MOU on Drafting China-Philippines Economic Cooperation Development Plans and the Tourism; the MOU Implementation Plan 2017-2022; the MOU on the Lists of Transportation and Infrastructure Cooperation Projects; the MOU on Financing Cooperation between the Export-Import Bank of China and the Bureau of the Treasury of the Philippines; the MOU on Agricultural Cooperation Action Plan 2017-2019; the Protocol on Cooperation between the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security of China; the MOU on Supporting Conduct of Feasibility Studies for Major Projects; MOU on News Information Exchange Training and for Other Purposes; and the MOU on Cooperation on Animal and Plant Inspection and Quarantine.

    ‘No joint exploration’

    Duterte earlier thumbed down the possibility of joint exploration between Manila and Beijing in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

    In a press conference in Beijing Wednesday, the President ruled out discussions with Chinese President Xi on energy exploration.

    “No, I do not think that would be right,” Duterte said, adding that the proposal for joint exploration should have the consent of Congress and the people.

    “If you plan to give up something, if you plan to share what you have, if it is really yours, then you cannot talk about it only on your own. This has to be with the consent of Congress and everybody, every Filipino involved,” he said.

    “So at this time, I am not empowered to do that,” the President added.

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    4 Comments

    1. If you were to ask me what substancial accomplisment President Du30 made in his trip to China, I would say that was what used to be during Pre-spanish colinization and Spanish time, American period and independence period of the Philippines where both people from China and Philippines had been engaged in exchanging of ideas in many areas of life. So, If I were to ask about What Mr. DU30 had accomplish for Philippine favors, I would say a rhetoric or a hairline difference may be, for reason that even before Du30 has become a President this year, China’s investment has been going on in the Philippines. So, what is a new one other than that additional of investment from China? Is that a new one? I don’t think so! What I was expecting from President DU30 and from China on his Trip was for Du30 to convince China to follow the decision of UNCLOS in the West Philippine Sea- the most substancial one.

    2. key word here is “re-balancing.” the country has always been used to advance the interests of the US. now, it can also be use to advance the interest of china!!! hopefully, in this re-balancing, the country will benefit, unlike when it was only used to advance the interests of the US. the president is correct, only the americans benefited all those years when they were overlords of the Philippines.

      • …and there are still dimwitted Pinoys who can’t grasp this idea, perhaps because of the very long time depending on U S of A, and the western colonial mentality.

      • I really hope Duterte breaks all ties with the west so you idiots can get what you think you want.