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Envoy sees brighter Manila-Beijing ties

After going through a turbulent period as a result of bitter territorial disputes over certain areas in the South China Sea, the country’s ambassador-designate to Beijing sees brighter relations this year between the Philippines and China.

This optimism grew mainly out of the recent visit of President Duterte to China which resulted to the signing of more than a dozen agreements.

Thus, the main task this year is to turn all these into reality, said Chito Sta. Romana during the Tapatan sa Aristocrat forum yesterday.

“There will be negotiations, consultations, and there will be feasibility studies for the major projects as well as the bidding for these projects,” Sta. Romana pointed out.

“There’s a lot of work ahead of us but mainly how to make sure that the different agreements will now transform to complete benefits for both sides.”

Sta. Romana, a veteran journalist and China analyst, is just waiting for Duterte to formally swear him in as the country’s top diplomat in China before he heads to his diplomatic assignment.

Among the agreements reached by the two countries, the most immediate issue to be tackled is the agreement of agricultural exports, particularly bananas and pineapple produced by the Philippines.

“That’s gonna resume and increase,” said Sta. Romana, who was a former ABC Beijing Bureau Chief, as he pointed out China’s commitment to buy $100-million food export from the Philippines.

Another urgent matter with the most immediate impact when fully addressed is tourism.

According to Sta. Romana, the goal is to “double the number of Chinese tourists to about a million by the end of this year.” (Roy C. Mabasa)