Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed gratitude to President Duterte following a two-day state visit here this week, wishing the Philippine leader good health and success, prosperity for the country, happiness for the people and stronger friendship between Manila and Beijing.
In a message released by the Chinese embassy yesterday, Xi Jinping said that during the visit, he was “once again deeply touched” by Duterte’s “sincerity and determination to grow our bilateral relations and by the friendly sentiment of the Philippine people toward the Chinese people.”
Xi vowed to work with his “personal friend” Duterte to strengthen political mutual trust and deepen practical cooperation between the Philippines and China, noting how pleased he was with the outcomes of his visit, which included meetings with Duterte, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“We had in-depth exchange of views, reached important agreement on our bilateral relations and issues of shared interest, and witness the signing of a series of cooperation documents,” he said.
Open for review
During the visit, various agreements were signed between the countries, including a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the possible joint exploration for gas and oil reserves in the West Philippine Sea.
The MOU was among the 29 agreements signed by both countries covering the fields of trade and investment, banking and finance, infrastructure, agriculture, education, culture, and people-to-people exchanges, among others. The list of deals is as follows:
- memorandum of understanding on cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative
- memorandum of understanding on cooperation on oil and gas development
- memorandum of understanding between the Foreign Service Institute of the Philippines and the China Foreign Affairs University of the People’s Republic of China
- exchange of executive program for the cultural agreement between Philippine government and Chinese government for 2019 to 2023
- memorandum of understanding on basic education cooperation between the Philippine government and Chinese education ministry
- memorandum of understanding between the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China
- memorandum of understanding between the Philippines’ Cooperative Development Authority and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of People’s Republic of China on strengthening the building of agricultural cooperatives
- exchange of infrastructure cooperation program between the Philippines and China
- exchange of program for cooperation on industrial parks development between the Philippines and China
- memorandum of understanding on jointly promoting the cooperation in key infrastructure projects in Davao region between the Philippines’ Department of Finance and Ministry of Commerce of China
- handover of certificate of emergency humanitarian cash assistance between the governments of Philippines and China
- implementation agreement of the feasibility study for Davao City Expressway project
- implementation agreement of feasibility study for Panay-Guimaras-Negros islands bridges project
- memorandum of understanding on Renminbi clearing arrangement
- exchange of protocol for phytosanitary requirements for export of fresh young coconuts from the Philippines to China between the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture and the General Administration of Customs of People’s Republic of China
- protocol of sanitary and phytosanitary requirements for export of frozen fruits from the Philippines to China between Philippines Departments of Agriculture and Health and the General Administration of Customs of China
- exchange of agreement on economic and technical cooperation between the governments of the Philippines and China
- memorandum of understanding on supporting feasibility study of major projects between the Philippines’ Department of Finance and China International Development Cooperation Agency of the People’s Republic of China
- exchange of letters between the Philippines’ Bureau of Customs and China International Development Cooperation Agency on the project of container inspection equipment
- exchange of letters between the Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highways and China International Development Cooperation Agency on the Davao River Bridge Bucana Project
- exchange of letters between Philippines’ Task Force Bangon Marawi and China International Development Cooperation Agency for China aid bridge and road project in Marawi
- memorandum of understanding on Panda Bonds issuance
- exchange of loan agreement between the Philippines’ Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and Export-Import Bank of China on New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project
- exchange of commercial contract between the Philippines’ Department of the Interior and Local Government and China Telecom Corporation Limited on Safe Philippines Project Phase 1
- exchange of commercial contract between the Philippines’ Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and China Energy Engineering Corporation on New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project
- exchange of framework agreement for industrial park between the Philippines’ Bases Conversion and Development Authority and China Energy Engineering Corporation
- exchange of contract between the Philippines’ Department of Transportation and China Railway Design Corporation Limited for the project management consultancy of the Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Project-North-South Railway Project
- handover of letter of no objection to the organization of Renminbi-Philippine peso foreign exchange trading market
- handover of certificate of authority to operate for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited Manila branch
The Senate and House of Representatives will receive on Monday copies of the documents that the Philippines signed with China during the recent state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said yesterday.
Responding to a question on why he needs China’s permission before they release a copy of the MOU on the joint oil and gas exploration on the West Philippine Sea, Locsin said it is the polite thing to do as the Chinese had little time to propose amendments on the document he drafted.
“Because China accepted my MOUs at face value and signed on to them in an act of trust. China had little time to propose amendments. So it is only polite to ask them – a quality no one is born with but can be bred into,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Copies will be with the Senate and House by Monday,” he added.
It was unclear if the Department of Foreign Affairs would transmit copies of all the 29 cooperation documents signed during Xi’s visit, or only those signed by Locsin and his counterpart, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Senators earlier said they would review the agreements signed during the state visit, particularly the MOU on oil and gas exploration which some critics warned could compromise the country’s sovereignty.
CNN Philippines yesterday released a copy of the three-page MOU, which among others establishes an inter-governmental joint steering committee to discuss possible cooperation arrangements for joint oil and gas exploration.
Still on Twitter, Locsin clarified that the MOU is not “an oil deal but a framework for possible oil deals.”
“I don’t defend; I explain the obvious. I never defend what needs no defending except from sworn enemies of China who can never find anything but wrong in relating with China. They are China’s problem; not mine,” he said in response to a newspaper report saying he defended the oil deal with China.
Meanwhile, former solicitor general and senatorial candidate Florin Hilbay said the agreement between the Philippines and China on oil exploration diminishes the Constitutional requirement of full control and supervision over natural resources.
“The decision in Philippines v. China declares that we don’t share any overlapping entitlements with China over West Philippine Sea,” he said in reaction to the MOU.
“The secrecy clause in paragraph five spells danger,” he added, referring to a provision stating that any information shared by the two governments will be kept confidential unless the two parties decide otherwise.
– Politicoscope / Phil Star