BEIJING–China’s newly appointed Commerce Minister Zhong Shan announced Saturday that China and the Philippines have agreed to jointly build industrial park in the Philippines.
Zhong announced this two days after he arrived from his four-day visit in the Philippines which he described as “very candid, practical and fruitful.”
”Overall, the Philippines’ industrialization level is not very high. So by jointly developing the industrial park, China wishes to advance the Philippines modernization and industrialization,” Zhong said in a press conference at the sidelines of the 5th session of the 12th National People’s Congress here.
During his Manila visit, Zhong said he met with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang as well as the President’s economic teams led by Finance Secretary Carlos ‘Sonny’ Dominguez and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.
”He (President Duterte) is very pleased about the state of China-Philippines relation especially commercial cooperation between the two countries and it is full of expectation,” Zhong said
The Chinese official said President Duterte told him that China is the Philippines’ friend and brother.
China-Philippines’ relation made a huge turnaround since President Duterte’s ascension to presidency in June last year.
The popular Filipino leader has actually visited China in October last year amid the South China Sea issue. His visit has resulted in USD 24 billion investment pledges and funding.
Zhong said President Duterte’s successful visit to Beijing has brought back the bilateral relations, especially trade and economic ties, to the right path and have grown very fast.
He said President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jingping have reached broad consensus and comprehensive results in the growing China-Philippines relations.
”After a prolonged winter, China and Philippines had finally seen spring. He (President Duterte) said we should embrace the spring,” Zhong said.
”In the past six months, bilateral relations between two countries especially bilateral trade and economic relations have grown very fast,” he added.
The rejuvenated trade and economic relations have also resulted in the rapid importation of aquatic products and agricultural products such as bananas from the Philippines, according to the Chinese official.
During his first out of the country visit, Zhong said he also co-chaired the 28th Meeting of the Philippines-China Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation which was postponed for six years
”Actually, this is one of the most important trade and economic mechanisms between the two countries. The resumption of this mechanism has great boosted the confidence of the Philippine people,” Zhong said.
Zhong said key infrastructure construction as well as multilateral and regional trade arrangements have seen a lot of results under renewed China-Philippines relation.
Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attributed to President Duterte the renewed China-Philippines relationship which he said will ultimately serve not only interest of the Philippines but also the expectation of the entire Asian region.