In this Nov. 20, 2018 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for a photo prior to their expanded bilateral meeting at the Malacañan Palace.
Presidential Photo/Richard Madelo
Philippines, China may sign 5 deals as Duterte attends Belt and Road forum
(Philstar.com) - April 22, 2019 - 11:47am

MANILA, Philippines — At least five agreements may be inked between the Philippines and China as President Rodrigo Duterte attends the second Belt and Road forum in Beijing later this week.

The president will be one of the speakers during the leaders' roundtable, which will be held from April 25 to 27 in Beijing.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre said the two countries may sign agreements on education, anti-corruption, official development assistance and drug rehabilitation on the sidelines of the forum.

Duterte is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Montealegre also confirmed that Cabinet members and other senior government officials will be attending 11 connectivity forums during the Belt and Road forum. 

Among the officials attending various connectivity forums are Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Information Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. They will be participating in the meetings upon the invitation of the Chinese government.

Montealegre noted that the Philippines would like to take advantage of the economic opportunities that the Belt and Road Initiative would provide despite the country not being located in the ancient "Silk Road."

"There are no specific projects at this stage but during the participation of the president in the first Belt and Road forum, he spoke about proposals for generating economic growth and tackling government economic challenges and the Philippines' infrastructure through the 'Build, Build, Build' program," Montealegre said in a press briefing.

As Duterte and Xi meet for the seventh time, the two leaders may discuss the presence of hundreds of Chinese ships in Philippine waters.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said the presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea might be brought up during the two leaders' bilateral meeting.

"I do not know if he (Duterte) will raise that. My educated guess is since we have already raised that, they may respond to that during the bilateral talk," Panelo said in a press briefing weeks ago.

According to Panelo, the Department of Foreign Affairs had filed a diplomatic protest over the reported presence of Chinese ships in the area but Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he will not make any document public on this matter.

BELT AND ROAD FORUM CHINA CHINA-PHILIPPINES TIES LI KEQIANG RODRIGO DUTERTE XI JINPING
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