Chinese envoy to Manila: Expect ‘big bang’ of China-PHL economic cooperation in 2017

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Dec. 13 (PNA) — China- Philippine relations will be considered “explosive” starting mid 2017 as both nations work on strengthening their friendship and cooperation, Chinese Ambassador to Manila Zhao Jianhua on Monday night said.

Jianhua, during a Christmas party he hosted for Philippine media at the Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City, said as a result of President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China, the Philippines will export more fruits to China and more Chinese tourists will visit the Philippines in 2017.

He also said China will sponsor a high level forum in May and a summit in September of 2017, and President Duterte is expected to attend.

“Five major emerging power get together in September next year in Xiamen . I think your President [Rodrigo R. Duterte] will be invited to attend the meeting because the Philippines will assume the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations],” the ambassador told the attendees.

He said they have foreseen that “the Philippines will be becoming a more important country in the future.”

Jianhua assured that Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the ASEAN meeting in November and there is a great possibility that they will sign a bilateral agreement.

In between, he said, there will be an exchange of elected and appointed officials in government like members of Congress, cabinet secretaries and their counterparts.

“China and the Philippines is not just close neighbors but relatives. We should be close partners. We should always focus on our common interests,” he pointed out.

“And, these are the things that unite us. Of course, our differences cannot go away for tomorrow,” the chief Chinese envoy to Manila explained.

According to Jianhua, differences of two nations should be handled properly so both nations can continue to focus and enhance their common interests.

He also emphasized the role of media in advancing bilateral relations by disseminating information to both countries.

“In our bilalateral relations, media has always played an important role.I think, with advancement of bilateral relations, Philippine media can play a bigger and greater role in the process of development of bilateral relations. I can say that I am confident the media here will play that role,” he said.

He even reminded all stakeholders to work hand in hand “to turn the train of cooperation into a high speed rail.”

He informed that the average train speed in China is 260 kilometers per hour and that experiments are underway to increase train speed to 480 kilometers per hour, the fastest in the world.

“But as far as the Philippines is concerned, it is too fast. We must be careful if we have this train because it might run into the ocean,” Jianhua added. (PNA)

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