Philippines, China boost relations

by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 02 2011 12:48 AM | Updated as of Sep 02 2011 09:10 PM

BEIJING, China - President Benigno Aquino has declared his state visit to China a success.
This is what he told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during their meeting Thursday, as Aquino thanked China for its hospitality.
"Even right now, we are so elated to report to our people already the success of our mission," the President said.
Both sides agree that Aquino's visit is a milestone in the history of the 2 countries' bilateral relations.
"Mr. President, you held productive talks with President Hu Jintao yesterday. You and the President have together set out the new program for the growth of our bilateral ties. These agreements have to be fully implemented," Wen said in Mandarin Chinese.

China was the first country to invite Aquino for a state visit.

Strained relations
However, it took a year before it pushed through due to several issues that strained the relations of the 2 countries.
The issues did not stop both sides from finding other areas of cooperation such as business, trade, sports, media and culture.
The positions of Aquino and Hu remain different over the issue on the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippines wants a rules-based approach, a regional solution to what it called a regional problem.
China wants it resolved through negotiations and is in favor of joint exploration.
Joint statement

In a joint statement Thursday, both countries agreed that this should be resolved in a peaceful manner. 

"The two leaders reiterated their commitment to addressing the disputes through peaceful dialogue, to maintain continued regional peace, security, stability and an environment conducive to economic progress," it said.

China also wants implementing rules for the declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea.
“Nag-umpisa tayo [na] magkalayo yung mga pananaw. Hindi ko naman masasabi na nagkabuo na yung pananaw pero hindi nananatiling ganun kalayo," Aquino said.

"What improved is the channel for dialogue and communications remain open and both sides are committed to peace and stability in this region and both sides would not like to let the issue affect our general relationship," said Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Liu Jianchao.

North Luzon railway

China also did not close its doors on the proposal of the Philippines for a new contract for the North Luzon railway, which is funded through a soft loan from Beijing.
The Philippines wants to create the terms of reference for the project, instead of the Chinese side.
The project should also be bidded out, according to Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas.
 "It will be bidded out among accredited, experience Chinese railway construction companies kasi pera nila ang gagamitin," he said.
The original contractor would instead be compensated for the services it has rendered, based on an evaluation by the Philippine side.
China's position on the Philippine proposal would be known as officials from both sides iron out the details. 
Presidents Aquino and Hu also agreed to expedite the ratification of a mutual legal assistance treaty between China and the Philippines, and begin negotiations with for the details of a transfer of sentenced persons agreement.
Both countries committed to cooperate in the fight against transnational crimes, including drug and human trafficking.

$60-billion trade
Given the instability of the global economy, it was agreed that the Philippines and China should broaden their trade and economic cooperation and expand the volume of bilateral trade, targetting $60-billion worth of 2-way trade by 2016.             
Both countries want to explore new areas of cooperation in energy, shipping and ports.
China, meanwhile, expressed support for the Public Private Partnership program of the Philippines, promising to urge Chinese companies to participate in the bidding process.
The Philippines also reaffirmed its adherence to the "one-China" policy.
 Before leaving Beijing for Shanghai, President Aquino visited the Forbidden City, a wide complex where China's emperors once lived.
The President described the experience as awe-inspiring. - ANC