Duterte: 'New page of history' for China, Philippines

Reuters/China Central Television

Posted at May 13 2017 12:25 AM

China's Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held on May 14 and 15 will serve as a platform to learn about economic development and exchange views with Beijing on several issues, according to President Rodrigo Duterte.

He made the remark during an exclusive interview with China Central Television (CCTV) recently.

Duterte said that he will attend the forum not only representing the Philippines but also the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN), as the Philippines is currently the rotating chair of the organization.

"The Philippines is now the chair of the ASEAN and whether I like it or not, I would bring some messages from the ASEAN community. Second is I also represent my country there upon the invitation of President Xi Jinping. Then I would work on a more robust bilateral connection with China, make it, fortify it with understanding the intricacies of our government including how the One Belt One Road would operate,” he said.

Duterte said he wants to learn more about the economies of other nations and how they operate, to boost the Philippines' connectivity.

"[It's important that] I listen particularly, listen and learn more on how I can go about bringing in the ASEAN community, with it I hope that the state leaders would also be there. And at the same time, I can have a conference with them of how best we can address the projections of what the One Belt One Road would operate in our community, in my case, in the Philippines," said the president.

According to him, China’s Belt and Road initiative fits with the Philippines' 2017-2022 development plan, especially in infrastructure development.

Duterte also said that the Philippines hopes to enhance the understanding of the Belt and Road initiative and establish partnerships with other participating countries. 

He hopes to promote the connectivity of capital, cargo, and people to further upgrade trade cooperation.

He said that a "new page of history" has begun for China, the Philippines and the ASEAN.

"China has built a relationship between the ASEAN and with the Philippines a new chapter, a new page of our history. China has, and [if] they were to help, and it could only do so [if] we come up with a common economic program for everybody. If there's investment, we can have more businesses, make the economy grow and China would likewise benefit from it,” said Duterte.

The President also hopes that he can reach a deal with China on introducing high-speed rail to boost travel speeds in the Philippines.