China, Philippines to sign $13.5B in deals: Trade Sec. Lopez

Reuters

Posted at Oct 20 2016 05:24 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2016 05:26 PM

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (L) shakes hands with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) ahead of their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 20, 2016. Wu Hong, Reuters/Pool

BEIJING - China and the Philippines will sign $13.5 billion in deals during President Rodrigo Duterte's trip to China this week,Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said on Thursday.

Lopez made the comment at a business forum after Chinese President Xi Jinping met Duterte and said his "milestone" visit could help "fully improve" ties, which have suffered from a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

Duterte earlier said relations between the Philippines and China are in "springtime" after years of strain due to disputes over reefs and outcrops in the South China Sea.

After the meeting between the two leaders at the Great Hall of the People here, officials announced the lifting of an advisory warning Chinese citizens against travel to the Philippines, in a boost to tourism.

The two countries agreed that disputes in the South China Sea were not the sum total of relations, and that they would restore diplomatic and defense consultations, Chinese vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters after the meeting.

Liu said China would restore Philippine agricultural exports to China and that Beijing would provide financing support for Philippine infrastructure.

In 2011, then Philippine president Benigno Aquino and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, agreed to boost bilateral trade to $60 billion, but a naval standoff at Scarborough Shoal the following year caused ties to run frosty. -- with reports from ABS-CBN News