PH to explore new cooperation, partnership with China
Robie de Guzman • April 25, 2019 • 2685
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday (April 25) that the Philippines will seek “new areas of cooperation and partnership” to further strengthen its diplomatic ties with China.
Duterte said this during his bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the sidelines of the second Belt and Road Forum being held in Beijing from April 25 to 27.
“The Philippines [and] China must continue to work together to explore new areas of cooperation and partnership. We look forward to a productive discussion on matters of mutual interest and concern,” Duterte said in his opening statement for the bilateral talks.
“The decision to elevate bilateral ties to a comprehensive, strategic cooperation affirms the Philippines and China’s strong desire to further deepen and broaden this engagement,” he added.
Duterte is one of the 35 leaders and heads of international organizations who are currently in Beijing to participate in the second Road and Belt Forum.
This is the fourth time that Duterte visited China since winning the presidential election in 2016.
Duterte also said the Philippines remains keen on executing the projects that were agreed during Xi’s visit to Manila in November 2018, in line with the vision to implement high-quality and good impact projects.
“The sooner they are completed, the sooner people on the ground will feel the benefits of Philippine-China relations,” he said.
For his part, Xi said he is happy to see better relations between the two countries and that the Philippines is an important part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
After his bilateral talks with Xi, Duterte will meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Duterte arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for the four-day visit. He was accompanied by several of his cabinet members, his partner Honeylet Avanceña and daughter Veronica. — Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)
The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Canada scolded China on Thursday (May 28) for imposing a new security law that they said would threaten freedom and breach a 1984 Sino-British agreement on the autonomy of the former colony.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the four countries were “deeply troubled” by the decision of China’s People’s Congress, which democracy activists in Hong Kong fear could erode its freedoms and jeopardise its role as a global financial hub.
China says the legislation will aim to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in the city but the plan, unveiled in Beijing last week, triggered the first big protests in Hong Kong for months.
Raab said Britain will give greater visa rights to British national overseas (BNO) passport holders from Hong Kong unless China suspends the proposed security laws. (Reuters)
China’s National People’s Congress’ third session closed on Thursday (May 28) after parliament members voted on a proposal to implement Hong Kong’s national security legislation.
“The session made a decision to establish a legal system and enforcement mechanism for the national security of Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region,” chairman of the standing committee of the NPC, Li Zhanshu, told delegates at the closing ceremony.
“It will uphold and improve the ‘one country, two systems’ policy. It is in line with the Constitution and Hong Kong’s Basic Law and is in the interest of all Chinese people including Hong Kong people,” he added.
The legislation received 2,878 votes while one voted against and six abstained. The draft national security law has received international criticism with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declaring that Hong Kong is ‘no longer autonomous.’
Hong Kong, which has freedoms not granted in the mainland such as freedom of assembly and freedom of the press, has experienced months-long anti-government protests which sparked from a now-withdrawn extradition bill. (Reuters)
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday (May 26) that Beijing’s proposed national security laws would not trample on the city’s rights and freedoms and called on its citizens to wait to see the details of the legislation.
Beijing unveiled plans last week for national security legislation for Hong Kong that aims to tackle secession, subversion and terrorist activities. It could see Chinese intelligence agencies set up bases in the city.
Thousands poured onto the street of Hong Kong on Sunday (May 24) in a mass protest against the planned new security laws.
Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd and arrested almost 200 people.
More protests are expected in Hong Kong on Wednesday (May 27). (Reuters)
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