President Rodrigo Roa Duterte returned early today from a productive and fruitful visit to China.
At the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held on 26 to 27 April 2019 in Beijing, the President articulated key Philippine positions to advance and sustain global growth and development.
Speaking at the High-Level Meeting Session I of the Forum, President Duterte pushed for a new model of international cooperation where development assistance is a genuine tool to build national capacities for sustained growth. He stressed that development assistance should not foster dependence but build the capacities of developing nations.
The President called for enhanced partnerships to address transboundary development challenges in order to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth, stressing the importance of multilateralism based on respect for sovereign equality.
The President cited the need for a fair and equitable rules-based regime which governs the relations of states, global trade, and the use the world’s oceans.
The President likewise highlighted the important role played by organizations, particularly ASEAN, in the evolving regional and global architecture. He underscored the platforms provided by ASEAN as ways to engage the international community positively to advance connectivity, sustainable development, and equitable growth.
Emphasizing the human dimensions that need to be promoted and protected in a world desiring growth, President Duterte raised attention to protecting and upholding the rights of migrant workers. He said connectivity meant more than building roads andbridges, but also safeguarding the human nodes of connections that made possible the exchanges of skills, ideas and experiences.
At the Leaders’ Roundtable Session III, the President reiterated the need to build strong partnerships with like-minded states, multilateral institutions, and other stakeholders that share the Philippines’ vision of securing a stable, peaceful, and resilient international community.
The President underscored that an effective belt and road cooperation should be an exercise of responsible and effective partnership for inclusive and sustainable development. He championed cooperation in infrastructure development, agriculture development and green technology and renewable energy as concrete measures for action.
President Duterte also expressed grave concern over the impact of more frequent and more intense disruptive weather on developing countries like the Philippines, and called for greater principled, concerted and collective action on climate change. He thanked countries for assisting the Philippines in times of calamities and called for proactive rather than reactive measures to climatic events.
He urged countries to act, rather than just meet, and to ensure that all of the countries, particularly economies that contribute greenhouse emissions be made accountable. President Duterte called for the effective enforcement of the world’s commitments to address climate change.
President Duterte also underscored the need to improve regional and global capacities to manage and protect marine resources, citing that the world’s seas and oceans are vital sources of sustenance and livelihood. He emphasized that it is the collective duty of the international community to promote the sustainable and peaceful use of these bodies of waters in accordance with international law.
At the sidelines of the Forum, the President met separately with fellow ASEAN Leaders Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha of Thailand, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phoc of Viet Nam. He also met President Khaltmaa Battulga of Mongolia and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
The Philippines’ participation at the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) demonstrates the country’s support for enhanced regional and global connectivity to promote deeper economic integration.
President Duterte also held separate meetings with China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on 25 April 2019, ahead of the Second Belt and Road Forum.
The Philippines and China renewed their commitment to bolster bilateral relations based on mutual trust, respect, and friendship. They agreed to further deepen Philippines-China strategic cooperation, particularly in the areas of security, trade, and investment to support common development goals, including the Administration’s Build, Build, Build program.
In both meetings, the Philippines and China agreed to continue working closely to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea and address differences through consultation.
The Philippines and China expressed hope for an early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, which will be a vital instrument for the maintenance of peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region.
President Duterte and President Xi also witnessed the signing of the Handover Certificate Grand-Aid for the Dangerous Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers Projects in Sarangani and Agusan del Sur and Exchange of Letters on the 2019 China-Philippines Production Capacity and Investment Cooperation Project.
Following their talks, Premier Li Keqiang hosted dinner for the President, Madame Cielito Avanceña, and accompanying Cabinet Secretaries. President Duterte and Premier Li exchanged views on regional and global developments.
President Duterte also met leaders of Philippine and Chinese business conglomerates in the manufacturing, energy, steel, and infrastructure industries. He witnessed the signing of 19 business deals worth over USD 12 billion which are expected to generate more than 20,000 jobs.
The President’s visit to China – his third since assuming office in 2016 – further revitalized bilateral relations which will redound to greater socioeconomic benefits, peace, and stability for both countries. END