BEIJING, China – In a latest sign of “full recovery” of friendship and bilateral relations, the Philippines and China have forged 13 landmark agreements aimed at enhancing cooperation from trade and investments to maritime security.
As the relations return to “normal level,” the two Asian countries have also agreed to strengthen partnership on law enforcement against illegal drugs, transportation infrastructure, tourism, agriculture, among others, following the historic state visit of President Duterte here.
The signing of the agreements was witnessed by President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping after holding a “fruitful” bilateral talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday. The two leaders have agreed to revitalize diplomatic and economic relations, which have been previously strained by disputes in the South China Sea, and explore emerging areas of cooperation.
“China has been a friend of the Philippines and the roots of our bonds are very deep and not easily severed,” Duterte said in his remarks.
“Even as we arrived in Beijing close to winter, this is a springtime of our relationship,” said Duterte, who called his trip “very significant.”
Xi welcomed Duterte’s visit to China to fully improve the relations between the two countries, which he described as “blood brothers.” He said the two nations have “weathered storms but the foundation and cooperation of their relations would not be changed.”
“I hope we can follow the wishes of the people and use this visit as an opportunity to push China-Philippines relations back on a friendly footing and fully improve things,” the Chinese leader said.
Despite a lingering territorial row, the coast guards of the two countries have agreed to work together on ensuring maritime security in the region. One of the key agreements signed was “the memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a joint coast guard committee on maritime cooperation.”
China also expressed support to the Philippine efforts in drug trafficking, particularly in helping law enforcement cooperation. The agreement on the “protocol on cooperation” was signed between Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security of China.
China also offered to provide financing support for Philippine infrastructure projects while allowing market access to Philippine agricultural exports to the mainland.
Also signed by the two countries is the memorandum of understanding on the lists of transportation and infrastructure cooperation projects. A memorandum of understanding on financing cooperation was also forged between China’s EXIMBANK (Export-Import Bank of China) and the Department of the Treasury of the Philippines.