In this October 14, 2016 photo, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua meets the press at the Pandesal Forum in Kamuning Bakery Cafe.
Kamuning Bakery Cafe/Released
Envoy: Lifting of travel warning could double Chinese tourist arrivals
Rosette Adel ( - October 18, 2016 - 2:10pm

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on Friday said China plans to lift its two-year-old travel warning against the Philippines during President Rodrigo Duterte's visit there.

"The Chinese side has already decided to lift the travel advisory," Zhao said at the Pandesal Forum last Friday, adding it will be done during the president's visit.

Duterte is scheduled to be in Beijing from October 18 to 21 for his four-day official state visit.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the travel warning in 2014 after Philippine authorities arrested three men allegedly plotting to bomb the Chinese embassy, businesses, and Manila's international airport.

RELATED: Beijing seeks thorough probe on anti-China plot

Zhao however, clarified that the warning is not a travel ban on the Philippines saying it was only advice. He expects tourism, trade, investment growth in the Philippines after Duterte’s visit.

Zhao said he hopes tourist arrivals in the Philippines from China will grow from half a million last year to one million by 2017. He said a million tourists can contribute $1 billion to the Philippine economy since Chinese tourists spend at least $1,000 on average.

Aside from tourism growth, Zhao said Duterte’s visit is also expected to boost investments, infrastructures, trade, soft loans, joint anti-drugs efforts, donations of huge drug rehabilitation centers, fisheries and agriculture cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, freedom of navigation and ecology cooperation in the South China Sea.

The Department of Health earlier confirmed there are Chinese donors contributing to the rehabilitation facilities as support to Duterte’s drug war.

The ambassador added that his government also looks forward to the participation of the Philippines in the trans-continental “One Belt, One Road” economic blueprint and in the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). He hopes the Philippines can soon approve its AIIB membership as one of the 57 founding members of the bank.

China earlier expressed hopes that the Philippines will ratify its AIIB membership. The East Asia Forum said the Philippines should allocate a budget for the capital contribution, prepare the project pipeline and, for the first project, negotiate co-financing between the AIIB and another multilateral bank so that they will have access to the bank’s financing alongside founding members Britain, Germany, South Korea, France and Italy.

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