Philippines wonât stop projects of blacklisted China firms
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr admitted outright that the Philippines values China as one of its investors, which is why the government is pursuing the joint agreement with China Communication Construction Co. Ltd. despite the US move.
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Philippines won’t stop projects of blacklisted China firms
Christina Mendez, Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - September 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Apart from the Philippines being an independent nation, President Duterte will not follow the United States’ lead in cutting ties with Chinese firms involved in reclamation activities in the South China Sea because the country needs investors from China.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr admitted outright that the Philippines values China as one of its investors, which is why the government is pursuing the joint agreement with China Communication Construction Co. Ltd. despite the US move.

“The President declared last night that the Americans can enforce the blacklisting of Chinese companies within their territories in the United States and areas where they maintain military bases which are under their jurisdiction,” Roque said.

“The President is clear, he will not aide with the directive of the Americans because we are a free and independent country and we need investors coming from China,” he added.

“We need the investments from China,” Roque said.  “So, Sangley and all other projects, no matter which Chinese contractor they are, all will proceed because we are looking at our national interest to ensure that the flagship projects under Build, Build, Build would materialized.”

Roque reiterated his point when pressed on whether Duterte has given his stand on the matter of the US decision to ban Chinese contractors or firms behind the building of artificial reefs in the South China Sea.

“I will be categorical: Sangley Project will continue, all other projects involving Chinese companies that are banned in the United State can continue in the Philippines,” he said.

The Philippines has long become an independent nation, Roque stressed, adding that Duterte himself crafted an independent foreign policy geared towards China and Russia and veering away from the West.

“We are not a vassal state of any foreign power and we will pursue our national interest. It is in the national interest that flagship projects under the government’s Build Build Build Program be completed, hope I was categorical enough,” Roque said. “The Sangley project will push through,” he added.

Roque’s statement came after the Tan-led Macro-Asia disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange that the company is looking at the national government for a final decision on whether or not to proceed with developing the Sangley International Airport.

Meanwhile, China’s top diplomat in the Philippines welcomed President Duterte’s rejection of the US call on governments worldwide to reconsider business deals with the blacklisted China state-owned enterprises.

Beijing was also pleased with Duterte’s thumbing down of recommendations even from his own officials to terminate government contracts with the Chinese companies.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in an interview on CNN Philippines last week that he would strongly recommend the termination of government contracts with Chinese companies responsible for the reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea.

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said China is firmly opposed to the sanctions imposed by the US State Department and Commerce Department on some Chinese companies and citizens.

“China is firmly opposed to this. The participation of Chinese companies and individuals in domestic construction activities is legitimate, lawful and beyond reproach, lies entirely within its sovereignty,” Huang said.

“The move by the US side, under the pretext of protecting the South China Sea, grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs and aims to drive a wedge between China and regional countries,” he said.

Attempts to undermine the normal economic cooperation between China and the Philippines, according to Huang, will never succeed.

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