MANILA – The Philippines will play an “important” role in the maritime trade network that China is building, an envoy from Beijing said Friday, as he pushed for a multilateral approach in the face of growing protectionism.
President Rodrigo Duterte has confirmed attendance to the Belt and Road Summit in Beijing in May, where he will join leaders from up to 31 countries, including 4 in Southeast Asia, Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said.
“The Philippines is a very important part of the ancient Maritime Silk Road and is going to be an important part of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road,” Zhao said in a televised speech from Davao City.
Multilateral trade deals are “very important” to ensure economic growth in the Asia-Pacific, he said.
“We cannot allow our region to suffer, where the Middle East is suffering. That will be harmful and detrimental to everyone in this region,” he said.