China, Philippines celebrate 44th anniversary of diplomatic relations

Chinese Embassy in the Philippines - The Philippine Star
China, Philippines celebrate 44th anniversary of diplomatic relations
The two countries have consistently deepened strategic mutual trust. Up till now, President Xi Jinping and President Rodrigo Duterte have met for seven times on both bilateral and multilateral occasions.
Chinese Embassy in the Philippines/Photo Release

Under the strategic guidance of the two leaders, China-Philippines relations have entered a golden age. The countries' three major pillars of bilateral relations—political and security coordination, economic cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges—are greatly strengthened. 

Pillar I: Political and Security Cooperation

The two countries have consistently deepened strategic mutual trust. Up till now, President Xi Jinping and President Rodrigo Duterte have met for seven times on both bilateral and multilateral occasions, setting the course for a win-win and sound growth of China-Philippines relations.

Last November, Chinese President Xi successfully paid his first state visit to the Philippines and elevated the relationship into one that is of comprehensive strategic cooperation. The two leaders witnessed the exchange of 29 documents covering functional cooperation in various fields, including the MOU on Belt and Road initiative cooperation.

Last April, President Duterte led a high-level delegation to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and held bilateral meetings with Chinese leaders.

The two countries have resumed a series of bilateral dialogue and cooperation mechanisms covering foreign affairs, defense, economy and trade, established the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea, and launched the Joint Coast Guard Committee on Maritime Cooperation.

The two countries are also having closer coordination and rendering mutual support on regional and international affairs.

Pillar II: Economic and Trade Cooperation

China and the Philippines have unleashed great potential for cooperation and reaped rich outcomes. Bilateral trade volume in 2018 reached $55.7 billion, with an 8.5% year-on-year increase.

For the first four months in 2019, the trade volume between two countries has reached $17.85 billion, increasing 7.6% compared with last year. During the same period, China has made another investment of $9.63 million in the Philippines, representing a year-on-year increase of 162.4%.

China is now the Philippines’ top trading partner, the largest source of imports and the fourth largest export market.

Last year, China has imported more than one million metric tons of bananas and become the number one market for Philippine bananas, claiming the spot that Japan had held for over 30 years.

Funded by China’s grants or soft loans, a number of major infrastructure projects such as two bridges over the Pasig River in Manila, the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, and the Philippine National Railway’s South Long Haul are continuously making headway.

The two drug-rehab centers in Mindanao have been completed and turned over to the Philippine side ahead of schedule. Cooperation in poverty alleviation and disaster relief and prevention has also produced gratifying results.

Pillar III: People-to-people Exchanges

The two countries have witnessed booming exchanges between our two peoples. China now stands as the second-largest tourist origin to the Philippines.

Last year, there were 1.2 million Chinese tourists visiting the Philippines. With a 29.6% yearly increase, China is now the second-largest tourist origin of the Philippines.

Every week, more than 300 flights are shuttling between the cities of the two countries. China is expecting more than 1.5 million Chinese tourists to the Philippines this year, which will create more than P32 billion of revenue for the local economy.

China is also implementing the MOU for Filipino teachers of the English language to work in China this coming September.

Both have also seen thriving interaction, exchanges and cooperation between China and the Philippines in terms of sisterhood provinces and cities, media agencies, think-tanks, universities, youth affairs, education, science and technology, culture and arts.

The hearts and minds of our two peoples are interlinked more closely than ever before and the centuries-old friendship between our two countries beams with greater dynamism.


Ever since the ancient times, China and the Philippines have been profoundly defined by a history of friendship and cooperation, thanks to our geographic proximity, kinship amity and cultural affinity.

The Philippines is one of the most important developing countries in Asia, and a natural partner in jointly building the BRI.

Looking out to the future, as China and the whole world stand at a fresh historic juncture to materialize the “Belt and Road” Initiative in a spirit of joint consultation, building and sharing, the Philippines is destined to be one of the most important participants, contributors and beneficiaries.

China and the Philippines will surely become good neighbors helping each other, good friends supporting each other, and good partners benefiting each other.

This not only serves both present and long-term interests of our two countries and peoples, but conforms to our common aspiration to safeguard peace, stability and prosperity in the region.



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