GMA: XI JINPING’S VISIT TO PH TO FURTHER STRENGTHEN PH-CHINA RELATIONS
Former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is looking forward to the scheduled visit of Chinese President Xi Jingping later this month to the Philippines as it will further strengthen relations between the two countries.
In her Keynote Speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Youth Summit 2018 held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mrs. Arroyo said Philippine-China relations has a deep foundation and she expects Xi’s visit to further boost the relations given the “favorable” status under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“I expect President Xi’s visit to further strengthen relations between our two countries. Our evolving relationship is part of a history that dates back to previous leaders of our two countries, so it has a deep foundation. Now, the current status continues to be favorable, because President Rodrigo Duterte is a friend of China,” Mrs. Arroyo told thousands of delegates to the summit.
She also stated that keeping a good relationship with China is important to the Philippines because of, among others, its geographical location, trading partnership and proven capability in infrastructure development.
“The relationship between China and the Philippines is very important for my country. One major reason is geography – the Philippines and China are located within each other’s backyard, so to speak, so good relations between neighbors is always a priority. Second, China is increasingly involved not only in bilateral dealings, but also collectively, such as through ASEAN, of which the Philippines is an active member,” she said.
She also pointed out that China is poised to becoming the largest economy in the world so that it is essential that the Philippines be friends with China. “Third, China’s economy remains the most dynamic and fast growing among the major nations, and will soon become the largest economy in the world, so of course, it is good to be friends with China,” she stated.
Mrs. Arroyo also cited the vibrant Filipino-Chinese community in the country and China’s track record in infrastructure as among other reasons why the Philippines need to keep good relations with China.
“Fourth, domestically, the Philippines has a very vibrant Filipino-Chinese community for whom increased business dealings with China is very natural. And fifth, infrastructure will be very important for the Philippines in the coming years, and there is no country in the world that matches China’s recent track record and capability in this area,” she said.
The BFA Youth Summit is a yearly summit that invites political leaders, specialists and scholars across Hong Kong, Mainland China and other countries to offer valuable perspectives on Asian economic trends, youth development, education, technology, creativity and innovation. This year’s theme is “40 years of Reform and Opening Up: China and the World” to highlight the need for young people to jointly participate in building a community through economical, technological, cultural and educational links.
Mrs. Arroyo is a member of the BFA Board.
She also brought ten Filipino youth to the summit to gain valuable insights on the tremendous growth in China to inspire them to be create positive change for growth in their respective communities. The youth also went to Guangzhou in Mainland China to witness its remarkable growth.
Mrs. Arroyo also noted that days after the United States took steps towards a trade war, Xi stressed the need for greater cooperation and commitment to building an open economy. She pointed out that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed mega free trade agreement between the member states of ASEAN, including the Philippines, and six Asia-Pacific states, including China, will provide the impetus for the trade tension.
“The trade tension with the United States provides an impetus for RCEP. With China’s participation, the proposed RCEP will be the world’s largest trading bloc,” she said.
She added that with RCEP combined with the Belt and Road Initiative, China is gearing into the next stage of its development to become a fully-modern and globally relevant economy as it strives for partnership in growth and development with its neighbors and the world.
Arroyo said she could describe China’s transformation since it opened up after 40 years as “breathtaking.” “I knew China since the 1970’s and I can use one word to describe China’s transformation - 'BREATHTAKING'…To summarize the past 40 years, China has shown the world that rapid economic growth and modernization is possible through a combination of vision, political will, and open and responsible relations with other nations,” she concluded.
Photo from EPA/BBC News