China confirms Duterte visit amid strained U.S.-Philippine ties

admin   •   October 13, 2016   •   2964

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte pose for photo during the ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Vientiane, Laos September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte pose for photo during the ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Vientiane, Laos September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

 

China confirmed on Wednesday that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit China next week, as the Southeast Asian leader’s relationship with its traditional ally the United States frays.

Under Duterte, Manila’s relations with Washington have come under strain and the recently elected president has opted to put aside years of hostility with China, especially over the disputed South China Sea, to form a new partnership.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, confirming a visit previously flagged in Manila, said Duterte would meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on his Oct. 18-21 trip and have a “deep exchange of views” on how to improve ties, cooperation and regional issues.

About 250 Philippine business executives will visit Beijing with Duterte. Filipino executives are eager to talk with Chinese business leaders and government officials about deals in a range of sectors, from rail, and construction to tourism, agribusiness, power and manufacturing, sources told Reuters.

“China looks forward to increasing mutual trust between the two countries, deepening practical cooperation and continuing the tradition of friendship via the visit of President Duterte,” Geng told a daily news briefing.

The two should appropriately handle disputes through talks and promote a strategic, cooperative relationship that is dedicated to peace and development, he added.

“The Philippines is a traditionally friendly neighbor of China. The two peoples have a long history of friendship.”

Elected in June, Duterte’s deadly war of drugs and support for extrajudicial killings have drawn the ire of the U.S., a former colonial power and traditionally one of the Philippines’ staunchest supporters.

Duterte has responded to that criticism by telling U.S. President Barack Obama to “go to hell” and saying he wants to distance the Philippines’ dependence on the country.

Coinciding with that has been a rapprochement with China, despite the cool relations the two countries have had, dogged in recent years by mistrust over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Duterte said on Tuesday he will also probably visit Russia after a trip to Japan this month.

An arbitration court ruling in the Hague on July 12 that said China had breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights in the South China Sea had threatened to lead to a further deterioration in ties between Manila and Beijing.

But Duterte’s forthcoming trip could prove a turning point, with promises to hold talks with China on the South China Sea dispute and signs of a new and potentially much deeper economic relationship.

Chinese spokesman Geng repeated Beijing’s standard line that China wanted to resolve the dispute via talks with the parties directly involved, including the Philippines. — Reuters

China tests its soft power in Southeast Asia amid coronavirus outbreak

UNTV News   •   February 20, 2020

China called for solidarity on Thursday (February 20) in a special meeting to discuss the coronavirus with Southeast Asian nations as it faces criticism for its handling of the outbreak elsewhere.

The hastily-called summit in Laos signaled China is seeking support from smaller neighbors into which it has poured billions of dollars in infrastructure and investment in recent years.

Wang urged Singapore to ease its travel ban on Chinese visitors, with other nations likely to face similar pressure at the meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Even as the meeting kicked off, Thailand on Thursday issued a travel advisory urging citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China and advised those already there to leave, hinting that flights to China could be further restricted

Beijing has been criticized for its handling of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, which emerged from the city of Wuhan in Hubei province in recent months and killed at least 2,000.

Travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease have idled much of the world’s second-largest economy and choked key elements of President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of railways, ports, and highways.

(Production: Jiraporn Kuhakan, Feline Lim)

China posts sharp drop in new coronavirus cases after criteria change

UNTV News   •   February 20, 2020

Mainland China reported on Thursday (February 20) the lowest number of confirmed cases of a new coronavirus since late January, partly because of a change in diagnostic criteria for patients in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

China had 394 new confirmed cases on Wednesday (February 19), the National Health Commission (NHC) said, sharply down from 1,749 cases a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 23.

That brings the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 74,576.

How cases are diagnosed and confirmed has had a big impact on official tallies of cases, and changes in the method have raised questions about the extent to which daily tallies accurately reflect the state of the outbreak.

The new coronavirus emerged in the city of Wuhan, the capital of the central province of Hubei, in December, having apparently been passed to people from wildlife sold illegally in a market.

(Production: Thomas Suen)

Lacson backs gov’t move to block release of P80-B congressional realignments

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2020

Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday revealed that at least P80 billion in congressional realignments have been withheld by President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

In a statement, Lacson said some lawmakers tried to realign at least P80 billion from the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program to their districts’ “pet projects” under the P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget.

But instead of exercising his veto power over the line items which could stall the approval of the budget, the lawmaker said Duterte decided to just block the release of the budget by way of a DBM circular now called “for later release,” which has the same effect of a veto.

“I support the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Budget and Management to withhold the release of these congressional realignments,” he said.

“This is one reason why I continue to support the leadership of President Duterte in spite of some disagreements with him over some policy issues: He has time and again displayed the strong political will, even against many self-proclaimed allies in Congress whose loyalty clearly lies where the money lies,” he added.

Lacson advised the president to “always be wary of these so-called allies” who have the propensity to praise him to high heavens and never criticize him but with self-aggrandizement and greed as their only motivation and nothing else.

The House of Representatives has yet to issue a comment on Lacson’s claim. – RRD (with details form Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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