China’s premier Li to visit Philippines
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - October 26, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Chinese premier Li Keqiang is expected to visit the Philippines next month – possibly after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit – to “share new proposals and initiatives of cooperation” and to show greater appreciation for Manila’s deepening rapport with Beijing.

Counselor Ethan Sun Yi of the Chinese embassy said Li’s visit is “first of this kind by a Chinese premier in 10 years” and is expected to take place “in about two weeks.” 

Sun said Li’s visit will not be in conflict with the ASEAN summit in November. 

The ASEAN summit in Manila is on Nov. 12 and the US-ASEAN summit is on Nov. 13 also in Manila. The East Asia Summit will take place on Nov. 14.

The embassy official said Li will meet with President Duterte as well as with other officials including Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Pressed for further details on Li’s visit, Sun said details are being finalized and that the Chinese premier “will share China’s new proposals and initiatives of cooperation for win-win results.”

Addressing a forum in Makati City, Sun said Li’s visit is the fruit of Duterte’s successful state visit to China last October, as he emphasized that China-Philippines relations “have entered into a new era.”

“Our two countries are enjoying growing political mutual trust and frequent exchange of high-level visits,” Sun said.

Sun also said Duterte’s visit to China has further strengthened ties between the Philippine and Chinese governments.

He noted that China is now the Philippines’ largest trading partner, largest import market and fourth largest export destination, noting that the two countries’ bilateral trade volume hit $28 billion from January to July this year, or a 7.6 percent year-on-year increase.

“Furthermore, China’s FDI to the Philippines in the first seven months of 2017 registered $20 million, and I am pretty sure that more will come in the following years,” he said. FDI stands for foreign direct investments.

As far as the tourism industry is concerned, Sun said China is now working hard to achieve the one million Chinese tourist arrival before the year ends, but said that around 550,000 Chinese visited the Philippines in the first seven months of the year.

He pointed out that Chinese nationals represent the second biggest tourist arrivals, next only to South Koreans.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) said Chinese arrivals in the Philippines increased by 37.65 percent from 490,841 in 2015 to 675,663 in 2016.

Sun said China has also committed grants for the Philippine government’s build, build, build program.

China is set to build two bridges over the Pasig River in a bid to alleviate traffic problem in the metropolis. He did not say when actual construction would start, but said that “groundbreaking ceremonies are expected to take place soon.”

He said that the Chinese government has also vowed to provide concessional loans to the Philippines for the construction of new water sources Kaliwa Dam, Chico River Pump Irrigation Project and the North-South Railway. He did not provide details.

Sun also revealed China’s plan to finance a feasibility study for the construction of the Davao City Expressway and a bridge linking Panay, Guimaras and Negros.

Apart from the infrastructure projects, Sun said that the Chinese and the Philippine governments are now identifying the “second basket of infrastructure projects” that could be built in the next few years, including industrial parks.

Sun also reiterated that the Chinese government “fully understands and firmly supports” the Philippines’ war on drugs.


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