BEIJING – Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana has expressed optimism that Communist Party of China (CPC) General Secretary Xi Jinping’s report to the 19th CPC National Congress would boost the relations between Manila and Beijing.
“There are portions in his report which are related to the plans of both China and the Philippines. We can see from the report that China will continue to take this path and hopefully bring benefits, especially for the Philippines,” Sta. Romana said in an interview with China Radio International (CRI).
In his report, delivered during last Wednesday’s opening of the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi urged his comrades to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative “as a priority”.
Sta. Romana said China’s foreign policy, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have an important role to play in the economic development of the Philippines.
Xi, incumbent President and Chairman of the Central Military Commission of China, stressed China’s commitment not to close its door to the world.
“Openness brings progress. We should give equal emphasis to ‘bringing in’ and ‘going global’ and follow the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration,” the Chinese leader said.
Last May, China hosted the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, attended by 29 government leaders and heads of state, among them Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte also visited China in October last year, bringing home USD24 billion worth of funding and investment pledges and reviving Philippine-Chinese relations tainted by the West Philippine Sea dispute.
In his report, Xi also urged the 89 million-member CPC, the largest in the world, to commit to settling the disputes through dialogue and negotiations.
Xi’s statement is expected to boost the ongoing bilateral talks between China and the Philippines on the West Philippine Sea, known in China as the South China Sea (SCS).
Last May, the Philippines and China held the first meeting of the Bilateral Consultative Mechanism on SCS in Guiyang, China. Manila will host the next meeting later this year.