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China vows to help in rehab of Marawi

China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang holds a press briefing in Beijing on March 14, 2015. FMPRC/Released

MANILA, Philippines — China on Tuesday welcomed the liberation of southern city of Marawi from ISIS-linked terrorists and vowed to help rebuild the war-torn Muslim-majority town.

“Combating terrorism is the shared responsibility of all nations. The Chinese side sincerely hopes that the people in Marawi and the Mindanao region can enjoy the peaceful and tranquil life again at an early date,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a press conference in Beijing.

“China stands ready to continue providing needed support and assistance in light of the needs of the government of the Philippines, including taking an active part in the post-war settlement and reconstruction of Marawi,” he added.

Advancing troops on Tuesday fought to retake the last militant-controlled pockets in Marawi from the Maute group, with President Rodrigo Duterte declaring the battle-scarred city liberated from "terrorist influence."

China’s offer is in stark contrast to the frosty relations the two nations had during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III who pursued a strong stance against Chinese incursions into Philippine waters in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that more than P50 billion would be needed to cover the repair and construction of government and private infrastructure.

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On June 27, the Chinese government donated P15 million for the relief operations in Marawi. Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua presented the check to President Rodrigo Duterte as a sign of the “flourishing partnership” between the Philippines and China.

READ: China donates P15M for Marawi rehabilitation

As of September, China has donated a total of P85 million, according to Lorenzana.

Foreign governments have so far pledged around P2 billion for Marawi.

READ: How other countries helped regain Marawi

Meanwhile, the US—China’s strategic rival and Manila’s traditional treaty ally—provided “a lot of assistance” to the Philippines in its operations in Marawi City, according to Lorenzana.

“It's not publicized but the US helped us a lot in Marawi: gadgets, drones, surveillance, info from Middle East,” Lorenzana said.

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