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Nation

Sea row strains Cebu, Chinese province ties

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

HAIKOU CITY, Hainan – A top consular officer here has reached out to the local executives of Hainan’s sister province, Cebu, after their 18-year friendly relations were reportedly strained due to the territorial disputes over some islands and reefs in the West Philippine Sea.

Dai Zhen, deputy director general of the Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Hainan province, lamented how the disputes may have affected their long-time and cherished friendship with the people of Cebu.

The closeness between the two provinces was also apparently affected by the change of local leadership in Cebu from the family of former governor Gwen Garcia, now a representative of the province, to incumbent Gov. Hilario Davide III of the administration-backed Liberal Party.

“It is our sincere hope that we renew friendship and hence our cooperation in all fields in the future,” Dai told a group of Philippine journalists who were invited for an economic and cultural familiarization tour of the southwestern corridor.

“Hainanese people are willing to visit Cebu. We also want to invite people from Cebu to come to Hainan,” said Dai, whose office also takes care of Chinese affairs in Hong Kong and Macau.

Hainan is the nearest coast to the West Philippine Sea, where a cluster of islands is now subject of territorial disputes between the Philippines and China.

Dai said Cebu and Hainan had deep cooperation in recent years. They also exchanged ideas on harnessing coconut byproducts as well as in the distribution of equipment such as tractors for construction.

“After your visit, you will now understand us better so we can express our will to intensify cooperation and exchanges,” she said, adding that the conference also aims to provide the Philippines and the world information about China’s economic and cultural points of view through the “eyes, pens and photos” of the Philippine media.

 

CEBU

CEBU AND HAINAN

DAI

DAI ZHEN

FOREIGN AND OVERSEAS CHINESE AFFAIRS OFFICE OF HAINAN

GWEN GARCIA

HAINAN

HILARIO DAVIDE

HONG KONG AND MACAU

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

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