Philippines-China ties: Major developments

Philippines-China ties: Major developments

LATEST UPDATE: September 29, 2020 - 5:52pm
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September 29, 2020

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin meets with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian in this photo released by the Chinese Embassy.

The meeting was "on the occasions of the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and Mid-Autumn Festival, both falling on October 1," the embassy says in a release.

"The Secretary and Ambassador exchanged views on China-Philippines relations, strategic cooperation and issues of common concern," it also says.

July 29, 2020

Following the appeal of President Rodrigo Duterte for priority access once COVID-19 vaccine is available, Beijing says it is willing to put Manila on top of its list.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokersperson Wang Wenbin notes that the Philippines and China have turned anti-epidemic cooperation into a "new highlight" in bilateral relations since the outbreak of COVID-19, which first emerged in Wuhan City late last year.

"The Philippines is a friendly close neighbor and we will give priority to its needs once we succeed in developing a vaccine," Wang says in a press briefing Tuesday.

June 6, 2020

Opposition Sen. Leila de Lima chides President Rodrigo Duterte's attempt to condition the Filipino public to pin their hopes of survival on a still non-existent vaccine against COVID-19 

“Duterte is doing his job excellently. As China’s lackey, that is. [H]inarang na nya agad ang iba pang posibleng suppliers ng gamot katulad ng Japan, US, o iba pang bansa sa Europa. Since day 1, we have heard nothing but ‘unless there is a vaccine’ plus China,” De Lima says. 

December 8, 2019

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian earlier this week says the Communist Party of China "and the ruling political parties coalition led by the PDP-Laban shoulder great responsibilities to further develop their countries and improve the capacity for governance."

Huang made the remarks at a speech at the Thematic Briefing on the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, held at
Makati Shangri-La Hotel, the Chinese Embassy says in a media release.

"Honoraries present at the meeting were Honorable Wang Ning, Member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee, President of PDP Laban Senator Koko Pimentel, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Dong Gonzales Jr., Vice President for International Affairs of PDP-Laban Secretary Raul Lambino, leaders of the NP, NPC, Lakas-CMD and NUP, and distinguished members of the Filipino-Chinese community," the embassy also says.

August 30, 2019

Presidential spokesperson Panelo says President Duterte and Chinese President Xi agreed "both countries should refrain from performing aggressive and provocative acts that will trigger incidents," The STAR's Alexis Romero reports. 

Panelo says aggressive acts that can impair Phl-China ties include unannounced entry into territorial waters, depriving fishermen access to fishing grounds.

August 20, 2019

The Palace says President Rodrigo Duterte has decided that "all foreign vessels passing [through] our territorial waters must notify and get clearance from the proper government authority well in advance of the actual passage" in response to reports of Chinese warships sailing through the Sibutu Strait without coordinating with the Philippines.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo says the decision is mean "to avoid misunderstanding in the future."

August 6, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte will raise the 2016 arbitral ruling over the South China Sea when he visits China this month, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo says.

The Duterte administration has played down the ruling, which holds that China's nine-dash-line claim over most of the sea—part of which Manila claims and calls the West Philippine Sea—has no basis in international law.

He has said that there will come a time during his presidency that he will raise it with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In June, Duterte said he had entered into a spoken agreement with Xi over fishing in the area. He said Filipinos fishers would get access to Scarborough Shoal, also called Panatag and Bajo de Masinloc, while Chinese fishers could fish in the Recto Bank, which is inside the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

He later lamented that the Philippines cannot enforce its EEZ and that the government has been trying to avoid war with China.

July 12, 2019

Lawyers handling the petition for a Writ of Kalikasan in parts of the West Philippine Sea will ask the Supreme Court for time to consult fisherfolk of Zambales and Palawan in the wake of an allegation by the Office of the Solicitor General that 19 fishermen in the petition had disavowed the plea, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines says.

The statement comes on the day that the OSG said the parties would move to have the petition dismissed.

"The IBP advocates for the enforcement of environmental laws, protection of the rights and welfare of fisherfolks, and securing the territory and patrimony of our country in the West Philippine Sea," the national lawyers' group also says.

"The IBP stands firmly with the firshermen, IBP chapters, and the lawyers involved in the petition for a writ of kalikasan filed before the Supreme Court."

July 4, 2019

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is correct in saying there is no goverment policy to allow Chinese vessels to fish in the Reed Bank despite President Rodrigo Duterte and the Palace saying a verbal agreement exists and is in force, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio says.

"Secretary Locsin knows that there is no recorded minutes of the so-called verbal agrrement between President Xi and President Duterte allowing the  Chinese to fish in Reed Bank in exchange for Filipinos fishing in Scarborough Shoal," Carpio says in a message to reporters.

"Any such verbal agreement, if confirmed by the Philippine government, will bind the Philippines to allow the Chinese to fish in Reed Bank for as long as China allows Filipinos to fish in Scarborough Shoal," he says in the statement, where he also calls the supposed deal lopsided since China has a bigger fishing fleet.

Recto Bank is also a bigger fishing area than Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc, where Duterte says China has allowed Filipinos to fish. 

According to a 2016 arbitral ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Scarborough is a traditional fishing ground. 

July 3, 2019

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says they will conduct their own inquiry on the reported series of anti-ballistic missile tests in the hotly contested waters of South China Sea over the weekend.

“We have no first hand knowledge about it. We will conduct our own inquiry and will decide later what to do if proven correct,” Lorenzana says. 

June 30, 2019

Vice President Robredo stresses critics of the adminstration's policy towards China on the West Philippine Sea do not want war and that standing up to the regional giant is not tantamount to declaring war.

Robredo points out Vietnam has been vocal about incidents involving China in waters that it claims but relations between the two countries remain good.

"We don't want to go to war with China. We believe the Philippines will benefit from good economic relations with them, but not to the point of abuse," she says.

"It shouldn't be at the expense of our sovereignty and our territory," she says in Filipino on her weekly radio show.

She says Indonesia has also taken a hard stance against Chinese vessels in its waters.

"Isn't it that when Chinese vessels enter their territory illegally, they blow those up? But the two countries don't go to war. So, I hope the examples set by other countries will be a lesson for us that you shouldn't sacrifice the friendship... but you also don't allow abuse of our country," she says.

June 27, 2019

President Duterte dares critics who question his decisions on the South China Sea row to impeach him. 

"Iimpeach ako? Kulungin ko sila lahat! Subukan nyo (Just do it)," Duterte says in a chance interview in Malacañang on Thursday. 

(They will impeach me? I will jail them all!)

"Try to take it, I mean to do it, and I will do it. Sabihin ko sa mga sundalo, ipadala ko kayo doon, eh paano ang mga pamilya nito? Pu*** i** tapos maubos? (You want me to tell my soldiers to go there, how about their families? Son of a b**** and then they will be wiped out)?" he adds. ?— The STAR/Alexis Romero

June 21, 2019

The legal counsel of Albert del Rosario says that the former top diplomat is still being held. 

Lawyer Anne Marie Corominas, in a phone interview with, says that the Hong Kong Immigration has not been able to explain why Del Rosario is being held when he is using a diplomatic passport. 

She adds that the Philippine consulate has informed Hong Kong of Del Rosario's trip prior to his travel.

June 21, 2019

Former Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, who filed a case before the International Criminal Court against China's crimes against humanity, was held for over an hour at the Hong Kong airport, his legal counsel says.

Monitor major developments on Philippines and China ties and geopolitics.

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