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Friday, August 23, 2019

China pledges P3.8-B economic, infra aid to Philippines

FOLLOWING President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to China, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to provide an additional 500 million renminbi (RNB) or about P3.8 billion in economic and infrastructure assistance to the Philippines, Malacañang said Wednesday, April 11.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the additional aid was a result of Duterte's bilateral meeting with Xi on Tuesday, April 10.

"There was a grant of a 500 million RNB or equivalent to P3.8 billion given to the Philippines by China in terms of economic and infrastructure assistance," the presidential spokesperson told reporters in Hong Kong.

This developed amid the improved ties between China and the Philippines.

Duterte, in a speech during his meeting with Xi, was elated that both countries maintained good relations and even made it to a "higher level of friendship."

Roque said that during the two leaders' meeting, the overlapping claims over the contested South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) were raised.

He said there was also a "positive" discussion about the continuing joint offshore oil development in the disputed waters.

"In the bilateral talks, it was actually President Xi who mentioned the West Philippine Sea issue, although he highlighted the need to focus on promoting stability in the region, and strengthening communication to avoid untoward incidents," the Palace official said.

Roque said the two leaders also agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding on the Belt and Road initiative, which is one of Xi's most ambitious foreign and economic policies.

Duterte's visit to China also yielded $9.5 billion in worth of investment deals with Chinese firms, Roque said.

Roque said other deals inked between the two countries were an agreement on economic and technical cooperation; memorandum of understanding on the deployment of Philippine teachers of English language to China, and the preferential buyer credit loan agreement on the Chico River Road Irrigation project.

Also signed were exchange of letters on Phase III of the Technical Cooperation Project for the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology, the pre-feasibility study of the proposed Davao City Expressway Project, and the new batch of broadcast equipment for the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

"All of these projects clearly (are) basis for all Filipinos to be happy with Duterte," Roque said.

Xi to visit PH by end of 2018

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano announced that Xi would visit the Philippines by the end of 2018.

Cayetano said the Duterte administration is now preparing for Xi's visit.

He, however, said there were no final plans yet, with regard to the Chinese leader's impending visit to the Philippines.

"I will confirm that we have invited President Xi for a number of times, and he accepted, subject to the time that's usually convenient. We are readying for the end of the year but we don't have any final plans yet," he said. (SunStar Philippines)
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