THE Philippines and China have signed a “Six-Year Development Program” to further strengthen trade and investment between the two countries following Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang’s courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte, Malacañang said on Friday.
In a statement, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said both Duterte and Wang, through the six-year economic plan, “reaffirmed the stronger bilateral ties” between the Philippines and China and noted the “progress being made in broadening cooperation.”
“Wang Yang said the signing of the Six-Year Development Program today demonstrates the sincerity of China which he hoped will result in concrete outcomes,” Abella said.
The development program is an economic cooperation plan aimed at increasing trade and investment between the Philippines and China, the Palace said. Its memorandum of understanding was signed during Duterte’s visit to Beijing in October last year.
Abella said Wang also reiterated China’s commitment to follow through with agreements made during Duterte’s visit to Beijing. These include agreements in public-private partnerships and trade and investment.
Duterte and Wang met in Panacan, Davao City, two days before the President embarks on official visits to Myanmar and Thailand.
Since his assumption to office in June last year, Duterte has taken steps to mend relations with China that were strained in the previous administration because of the longstanding dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Abella said Duterte and Wang reaffirmed the need for a peaceful settlement of the maritime dispute.
“The President said bilateral ties are found stronger, particularly in trade and commerce and reaffirmed the importance of peaceful settlement of disputes,” Abella said.
“Wang noted the need to focus on common interests that bring more benefits than differences,” he added.
Aside from economic and maritime concerns, Duterte “raised concerns on piracy and terrorism as these affect stability, security and commerce in the region.”