On 28 June 2017, H.E. Mr. Zhao Jianhua, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, gave an interview to the Chinese Media Delegation participating in the third Chinese Media Reporting Trip to ASEAN organized by ASEAN-China Centre (ACC).
Ambassador Zhao stated that facing China across the sea, the Philippines is a must-pass place of the ancient Maritime Silk Road, an important bond linking the western and eastern world, and an important cooperation partner for jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Since the ancient times, the people of the Philippines and China have engaged closely in trade in goods and cultural interactions through the Maritime Silk Road. During President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China in October 2016, he and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to strengthen the bilateral relations across the board for the benefit of the people of both sides. In May 2017, President Duterte led a delegation to China and attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, during which he had a fruitful discussions with Chinese leaders. This shows that the Philippines attaches great importance to and have strong interest in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Both governments are working closely for the development of infrastructure projects including railway, bridge, flood control, and irrigation facilities as well as industrial parks in the Philippines, which will accelerate the development of the Philippines. In addition, tourism cooperation between the two countries enjoys a strong momentum. Taking advantage of the ASEAN-China Year of Tourism Cooperation, it is estimated that there would be over one million Chinese tourists visiting the Philippines in 2017. Furthermore, China would join hands with the Philippines to deepen exchanges and cooperation in policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity. He believed that the Belt and Road Initiative would bring benefits and prosperity to the Philippines, China and the rest of the world.
Toward questions about cooperation prospects between the Philippines and Jiangxi, Guangxi, Shandong, Hunan and other China’s provinces, Ambassador Zhao said that the strategic partnership between the Philippines and China has reached a new stage with higher starting point, more comprehensive contents and deeper cooperation. Both sides enjoy deepening political relations, rapid growth of economic cooperation and trade and frequent cultural and people-to-people exchanges. He perceived that China’s relevant provinces and cities could seize the new opportunity of ASEAN-China cooperation, make full use of their unique strengths, and promote connectivity, practical cooperation as well as cultural and personnel exchanges so as to help create new bright spots in ASEAN-China and the Philippines-China cooperation.