Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd met recently with officials of China’s Hainan province to discuss ways of enhancing cooperation between the Philippines and the island-province in the areas of tourism, agriculture and fisheries, in step with the closer ties that Manila has forged with Beijing under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Liu Cigui, the secretary general of the CPC Hainan Committee, led other officials in exploring the possibility of opening maritime cruise tours to further boost tourism between Manila and Hainan, which will complement the direct flight route that they are eyeing between the Chinese province and Cebu.
China Southern Airlines currently offers direct flights from Manila to Sanya, Hainan’s southern city.
The Hainan officials, said that in the field of agricultural and fisheries cooperation, they are eyeing more exports of Philippine tropical fruits and vegetables as well as providing assistance to the Philippines in producing high-yielding hybrid rice.
Liu said their visit aims to explore ways of “pragmatic cooperation” between Hainan and the Philippines.
“We came here to implement the consensus agreements between President Xi Jinping and President Duterte,” Liu also said, referring to the slew of cooperation deals signed between the two leaders during Mr. Duterte’s state visit to China last year.
Dominguez, for his part, welcomed the opportunity to expand cooperation with Hainan. “I can see a lot of business will be done between Hainan and the Philippines,” he said.
The finance chief said he expects the Philippines to develop “closer relationships with Hainan.”
The Hainan officials invited Dominguez to visit their province, which, they said, could signal “the beginning of new partnerships to come” between Manila and Hainan.
The Hainan officials informed Dominguez that they also plan to open Chinese language training courses in the Philippines and provide scholarships to students, particularly in the province of Palawan, which has forged a sisterhood agreement with the Chinese province.
Besides Liu, the Hainan delegation also included Lyu Yong, director general of the Provincial Department of Commerce; Wang Sheng, director general of the Provincial Foreign Affairs Office; Fu Xuanchao, director general of the Provincial Committee of Development and Reform ; and Xin Di, the chief executive officer of Hainan Airlines Co. Ltd., which is China’s largest private airline.
The officials were accompanied to the meeting by Chinese Ambassador to Manila Zhao Jianhua.