Posted on Beijing Bulletin
Sunday 22nd January, 2017
In a bid to strengthen ties with Asia’s top trade partner and the world’s second-largest economy, China, top Philippine officials will meet officials in Beijing to discuss investment.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is said to have put together a cabinet-level delegation that will travel to Beijing this week.
The delegation is slated to meet China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang and other top Chinese officials with an agenda to discuss investment deals.
According to a statement released by the Department of Finance, the delegation will arrive in Beijing on January 23 (Monday) for the two-day visit and will include Philippine finance, budget, economic, public works and transport secretaries.
Further, the statement added that the meetings would also discuss the Philippines’ chairmanship of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year.
The department added that at the end of the meeting, Philippine and Chinese officials are expected to put together some $15 billion worth of investment pledges that China committed to Manila during Duterte’s visit in October.
The Philippine President, Duterte, who had visited Beijing late last year, is scheduled to visit China again in May for a bilateral summit.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin too has confirmed this meeting.
The meeting was announced by Manila merely days after Duterte’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Duterte’s shift in the Philippine foreign policy has come after he lashed out against the country’s traditional ally, the United States on several occasions, even threatening to snap all ties at one point through last year.
America’s criticism of the drug war in the Philippines and blaming Duterte’s methods for the increase in ‘extrajudicial killings’ has irked the country’s leader – forcing him to increase his overtures to China.
Philippines has since tried to establish a new commercial alliance with Beijing as Duterte sets on the “pro-Filipino” policy path in a bid to reduce the reliance on a U.S. that he says he has lost faith in.
Earlier this month, Japan pledged $9 billion worth of investment and development aid for the Philippines during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the country.