Government News Analysis

Beijing talks – bearing fruit

Philippines-China Relations

The 47-point joint statement marking the culmination of four days of talks in Beijing between Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, and the Chinese leadership, leaves little doubt over the commitment of the two sides to bring their countries into a close axis of trade, economic cooperation and strengthened security.

Described as fruitful, the talks covered a range of topics from investment to reforms of the UN. Among the memoranda signed were articled dealing specifically with combating the flow of drugs from the Mainland (see items 14, 16 and 17 below) with the parties agreeing to enhance drug cooperation between their respective agencies which will include the Philippine National Police and the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency and China’s Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, and the Smuggling Prevention Department of the Customs General Administration.

Progress was also made on frameworks for defeating terrorism (item 15); enhancing marine safety (item 18) and handling maritime disputes (items 40, 41 and 42).

Here we reproduce the joint communiqué verbatim. Datelined, Beijing, October 21, 2016, the joint statement reads:

1. At the invitation of H.E. President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of the Republic of the Philippines undertook a state visit to China from 18 to 21 October 2016.

2. During the visit, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jinping had a fruitful meeting in an amicable and friendly atmosphere and conducted in-depth exchanges on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of shared interest. H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council, and H.E. Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, met with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. H.E. Zhang Gaoli, Vice Premier of the State Council, and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte also attended the opening ceremony of Philippines-China Economic and Investment Forum and delivered remarks.

3. Both sides acknowledge the centuries-old bonds of friendship of the two peoples. Both sides agree that the mutual understanding and friendship of the two peoples are important. Both sides will make concerted efforts to cement the traditional friendship of the two peoples.

4. Both sides agree that since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Philippines-China relations have enjoyed smooth development and remarkable progress in many areas of cooperation which have benefited both countries and peoples.

5. Both sides commit to further enrich Philippines-China bilateral relations, founded on mutual respect, sincerity, equality and mutual benefit, which is conducive to regional peace, stability and prosperity.

6. Both sides reaffirm the principles contained in the Philippines-China Joint Communiqué of 1975 and other documents, whose principles include, among others, the principle of the peaceful settlement of all disputes and the Philippines’ adherence to the One-China Policy.

7. Both sides affirm their partnership and their common aspiration to achieve sustainable development and inclusive growth that will benefit the peoples of both countries. Both sides agree that this is a milestone visit which will infuse new energy to bring tangible benefits to the peoples of the two countries. Both sides will work together to pursue the sound and stable development of the strategic and cooperative relationship for peace and development.

8. Both sides acknowledge the great importance of maintaining high-level exchanges in promoting the all-around development of bilateral relations.

9. Both sides welcome the signing during the visit of various agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), as listed in the Annex.

10. Both sides express interest in finalizing agreements and MOUs in such areas as education, finance, customs and sports.

11. Both sides affirm the importance of existing Philippines-China bilateral dialogue mechanisms in enhancing understanding, broadening cooperation and striving for a stronger relationship. Both sides agree to resume the Foreign Ministry Consultations, Consular Consultations, Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation, Annual Defense Security Talks, Joint Committee on Agriculture, Joint Committee on Science and Technology, and other bilateral dialogue mechanisms.

12. Both sides will encourage exchange of visits of high-ranking governmental delegations and leaders at the local level, legislative organs, political parties, and civil organizations, and increase interactions and communications.

13. The Philippines welcomes China’s proposal to open a Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Davao in due course. Proper arrangements for the diplomatic premises in both countries will be made in the spirit of the 1975 Joint Communiqué, on the basis of international practice and reciprocity, with priority for the most immediate concerns.

14. Realizing that coordinated action is necessary to combat transnational crimes, the two countries’ relevant agencies, subject to mutually agreed arrangements, will enhance cooperation and communication to combat transnational crimes, including telecommunications fraud, on-line fraud, cybercrimes, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons and wildlife trafficking.

15. Both sides oppose violent extremism and terrorism in all forms and will cooperate in the fields of information exchange, capacity building, among others, in order to jointly prevent and address the threat of violent extremism and terrorism.

16. China understands and supports Philippine Government’s efforts in fighting against illicit drugs. Realizing that the problem of illicit drugs poses severe threats to the health, safety and welfare of the peoples of both countries, both sides agree to enhance exchange of intelligence, know-how and technology sharing on fighting against drug crimes, preventive education and rehabilitation facilities.

17. To further strengthen the efforts to fight against illicit drugs, both sides agree to establish operation mechanism for joint investigation on special cases and intelligence collection purposes. The Philippines thanks China for its offer of assistance in personnel training and donation of drug detection, seizure, and testing equipment to aid in the fight against illicit drugs.

18. Both sides commit to enhance cooperation between their respective Coast Guards, to address maritime emergency incidents, as well as humanitarian and environmental concerns in the South China Sea, such as safety of lives and property at sea and the protection and preservation of the marine environment, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law including the 1982 UNCLOS.

19. Both sides agree to continue discussions with a view to signing a bilateral agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

20. Both sides agree that bilateral defense and military cooperation are important components of bilateral relations. To enhance mutual trust, both sides agree to implement the Philippines-China MOU on Defense Cooperation, through exchanges and cooperation in areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster alleviation and peacekeeping operations.

21. Both sides agree that bilateral economic cooperation remains strong, but has room for growth. Both sides commit to enhance economic relations in the priority sectors of the two countries by leveraging their complementarity and continuously promoting trade, investment and economic cooperation, through the activities identified under the MOU on Strengthening Bilateral Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation.

22. Both sides acknowledge the mutual economic and social benefits gained from the Five Year Development Program for Trade and Economic Cooperation (2011-2016), and announced their commitment to its renewal through the Memorandum of Understanding on the Formulation of the Development Program for Economic Cooperation.

23. Both sides identify poverty alleviation as their shared aspiration, and agree to exchange best practices and cooperate in projects in this regard.

24. Both sides express willingness to jointly undertake practical cooperation including infrastructure investment, infrastructure project construction and industrial production capacity. Both sides agree that infrastructure cooperation which are jointly undertaken will be subject to proper procurement process, transparency and in compliance with relevant domestic laws and regulations and international practices.

25. Both sides will develop financial cooperation including in areas such as concessional loans, preferential buyer’s credit, bonds issuance, loans, investments, securities, and others as mutually agreed upon including special loans for development. Both sides will strengthen cooperation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and other multilateral and regional development banks.

26. Both sides express willingness to expand the local currency settlement of bilateral trade and investment, and to coordinate to actively promote the regional financial cooperation which includes the multilateralization of Chiang Mai Initiative (CMIM) and bilateral swap arrangements (BSA). China welcomes the interest of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in participating in the Chinese Interbank Bond Market.

27. Both sides commit to expand cooperation in agriculture, particularly in such areas as (i) agricultural technology and infrastructure; (ii) agricultural trade; (iii) irrigation; (iv) climate change adaption and mitigation, and (v) compliance with animal and plant sanitary standards.

28. Both sides agree to strengthen cooperation on animal and plant inspection and quarantine. The Philippines welcomes China’s announcement to restore permits of relevant Philippine enterprises that export bananas and pineapples to China, and continue to import vapor heat treated mangoes which were packed in facilities that comply with standards set by China.

29. Both sides will undertake joint efforts to promote cooperation in the fields of high quality hybrid rice seeds, agriculture infrastructure, agricultural machinery, further develop the role of the Sino-Phil Center for Agricultural Technology, and other mutually agreed upon areas. China commits support for the Philippines’ effort to improve its food production capacity, training of agricultural technical professionals, and agricultural and fisheries industry development and capacity building, subject to domestic laws.

30. China expresses readiness to support Philippine requests for assistance under the framework of the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) in times of emergency.

31. China expresses readiness to provide assistance to the Philippines in building scientific research industrial system and in science and technology training. Both sides are willing to explore the possibility of jointly building technology transfer centers, joint laboratories, and science and technology resources sharing platforms.

32. Recognizing the growing two-way tourist arrivals in the past few years and noting momentum that will be driven by the “ASEAN-China Year of Tourism” in 2017, both sides agree to set the goal of intensifying tourism cooperation. Both sides will encourage their citizens to travel to each other’s country, explore the possible increase in capacity entitlements in air services, and encourage airlines to open new flights between Philippine cities, including Davao City and other cities in Visayas and Mindanao, and Chinese cities, which will contribute to the realization of this objective.

33. Both sides encourage the universities of the two countries to promote meaningful exchanges in the field of research and innovation and to strengthen academic exchanges and the model of university-research-industry communications and cooperation. China expresses readiness to increase allocation of Chinese Government Scholarship for the Philippines in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

34. Both sides agree to encourage mutual visits of media personnel, exchange of media products, cooperation in facilities, technologies and training between Chinese media and Philippine media including the People’s Broadcasting Corporation. The competent media authority of China is willing to enhance exchanges and cooperation with the Presidential Communication Office of the Philippines.

35. Both sides express interest in increasing twinning agreements between their cities and provinces, noting that these arrangements will encourage mutual understanding between their peoples and tap cooperation potentials at the local level.

36. Both sides agree to cooperate in emergency assistance and disaster relief.

37. Both sides reaffirm the importance of further implementing the “Executive Program of Cultural Agreement between the Philippines and China, 2015-2018” and encouraged their cultural institutions and groups to increase exchange of visits. Both sides will positively consider setting up their respective culture centers in each other’s country.

38. Both sides attach importance to people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, noting that 2017 marks 600 years of friendly contacts between the Sultanate of Sulu and China, and the Philippines and China expressed interest in holding relevant commemorative activities.

39. Both sides will explore other areas of bilateral cooperation including in information technology, health, customs cooperation, research and development, education, and other fields that will be mutually beneficial to both countries.

40. Both sides exchange views on issues regarding the South China Sea. Both sides affirm that contentious issues are not the sum total of the Philippines-China bilateral relationship. Both sides exchange views on the importance of handling the disputes in the South China Sea in an appropriate manner. Both sides also reaffirm the importance of maintaining and promoting peace and stability, freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea, addressing their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and the 1982 UNCLOS.

41. Both sides recall the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the Joint Statement of the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN Member States and China on the Full and Effective Implementation of the DOC adopted in Vientiane on 25 July 2016. Both sides commit to the full and effective implementation of DOC in its entirety, and work substantively toward the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) based on consensus.

42. Both sides agree to continue discussions on confidence-building measures to increase mutual trust and confidence and to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities in the South China Sea that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability. In this regard, in addition to and without prejudice to other mechanisms, a bilateral consultation mechanism can be useful, which will meet regularly on current and other issues of concern to either side on the South China Sea. Both sides also agree to explore other areas of cooperation.

43. China expresses support for the Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017. Both sides express satisfaction with the growth of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations over the past 25 years and affirmed their commitment to the principle of ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture. China affirms support for ASEAN integration, ASEAN Community Building, as well as ASEAN’s efforts in realizing ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together.

44. Both sides affirm their continued cooperation in UN, ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Asia-Europe Meeting, World Trade Organization, UN Climate Change Conference and other regional and multilateral organizations.

45. Both sides reaffirm adherence to sovereign equality, non-intervention, and non-interference enshrined in the UN Charter and reiterate their common commitment for the protection and promotion of human rights through dialogue and cooperation in light of the core human rights instruments to which both countries are parties to.

46. Both sides support the enhancement of the UN’s role through necessary and reasonable reforms. Both sides held that pushing for the implementation of development issues, upholding the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, enhancing the voice and representation of developing countries in international affairs should be the priorities in the reform of the UN, including the Security Council, and increasing the role of developing countries in UN decision-making.

47. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte expressed appreciation for the warm welcome extended by the Chinese side. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte invited President Xi Jinping to visit the Philippines at a convenient time. President Xi Jinping accepted the invitation with pleasure. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte also said that he looked forward to welcoming Chinese leaders to the ASEAN and Related Summits in 2017.

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  • A repost from an MSUan, (MSU Marawi), Mr. Jun Avelino, a B.S. International Relations graduate, for us to THINK about the saddest reality in our country today. Kindly read the post and share. Duterte: Fighting the proxy war of US and China When you are a foreign service grad you are trained how to be prim and proper. Heads of states and their ambassadors are expected to be the epitome of decency when they speak with their counterparts. My professor once said, “When a diplomat says yes, he means perhaps; When he says perhaps, he means no; When he says no, he is not a good diplomat.” Being confrontational and too direct is a taboo in the culture of diplomacy. In the halls of UN and on a country’s diplomatic corps, diplomats and heads of states shake hands, embrace each other like brothers and sisters and their rhetoric is full of decency. Yet, at the back of their minds, they plan how to backstab each other. Beyond the smiles is a deceitful plan of outdoing each other. They kill by the thousands, annihilate a race and destroy countries. Look at what happened in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Crimea, Ukraine, and many other countries at war with each other, and the brutal way of how they handle migration of people in Europe. The halls of the UN have become the meeting place of the real murderers who kill with no mercy behind their cover – diplomacy. This smacks of hypocrisy at its highest level. When I read our country’s traditional diplomats lecturing Duterte on the art of diplomacy, I puked. And when Filipinos called him out for his foul mouth (psychopath) and not being “prim and proper”, I puked hard. For if we are to believe the decency that we see in the world of diplomacy, then we are living in a perfect world – the utopia of the Marxist-Leninist ideologues. But no, the whole world is in chaos because diplomacy has become the repository of lies, deceit, betrayal and murderous plans and those people in black suit whom you called prim and proper, talking peace in the halls of UN have blood on their hands. They are to be held responsible for the thousand deaths in different countries of the world and for all the wars and global inhumane displacements because of their hypocrisy. Duterte’s foul mouth is espousing that filthy smell of diplomatic hypocrisy. While some idiots in our country consider him a source of national shame, the world is curiously watching him beyond his harsh rhetoric. When Duterte announced that he is pursuing an independent foreign policy for the Philippines, he is actually declaring war – the proxy war between US and China that is happening in our country. How do superpowers fight each other nowadays? No, they don’t invade each other militarily. They bring their war somewhere else because they want to protect their own people. They bring their war to another land to save their own. It’s a proxy war which can take many forms. The war in Syria albeit started by ISIS, has now become the war between US and Russia and the two have just suspended diplomatic ties. The Yemen war is supposed to be an internal conflict, but US and Iran’s hands are all over the place. The Afghanistan war is a war between US and Iran with the backing of Russia. Crimea’s dissent was instigated by Russia before it declared independence and prior to annexation by Russia. And it’s all because Georgia is pro America. The war in Ukraine is a showdown between Russia and the West. The Iraq war is a pre-emptive measure to prevent terrorists from bringing again the war in the American soil, and many more. Post 9/11 era, Russia, China and Iran are launching proxy wars with US in different countries of the world which prompted US to strengthen its alliance with these countries. In the case of the Philippines, Duterte is fighting against that proxy war. First, he is cutting loose the grip of the US over our socio political system. For nearly a century now, US tacit influence over our government has been prevalent. Almost all our Presidents are associated with the US post EDSA revolution. Cory stayed in Boston for the duration of Ninoy’s exile. Ramos was a Westpointer military man. Arroyo had studied in the US and is a very good friend of his classmate, Bill Clinton. All of them never attempted to chart a different direction of our foreign policy, thereby strengthening further American influence thereon. Aside from Erap whose presidency was abbreviated by Edsa Dos, we only have Duterte who hails from Davao and refused to be associated with the West. His revolting posture against the west as exemplified on his refusal to be confrontational with China threatens American interest in the Asia Pacific – an act favorable to China which is watching Duterte’s foreign policy direction. But US cannot afford to lose Philippines on its grip due to its strategic location in neutralizing China in flexing its muscles further. By all means, they will not allow China to get control over the South China Sea. Hence, the need to get Duterte out of the equation. Has one ever wondered why De Lima’s statements on EJK reverberates around the world? It’s because US supports it; UN seconds it; and Europe is happy about it. Hence, it becomes a global issue instead of being just a domestic one. They helped the anti Duterte forces in discrediting the President internationally with the hope of convincing majority of Filipinos to go against their President. Recent survey shows that 8 out of 10 pinoys support Duterte; Only one is not, while the other one is undecided. Given that massive support, America is now shifting its war to a different mode – the Low Intensity Conflict. US has been notorious in using this approach in 3rd world countries, particularly those whose leadership they do not control, e.g., Guatemala, Hondura, Nicaragua, El Salvador, etc. It seeks to polarize the country by supporting its opposition in constantly hammering the government until its leaders are replaced. What is crucially disturbing is the penetration of this approach in our media which has become the mouthpiece of the West’s propaganda against our government. Hence, even if their numbers are small, the issues are magnified. Duterte knows that he is fighting from within a giant monster that controls almost all facets of our lives for nearly a century now. Our US colonial mentality is still very much in control of our system. Some Filipinos have chosen to continue licking that filthy ass of Uncle Sam to date. On another front, we are under attack by China on the west Philippine sea row. Moreover, the magnitude of its business and products in our country is its approach of gaining influence in the social fabric of our lives, competing with that of America. And yes, including illegal drugs that flood their way into our shores from China. Although there is no proof that the entry of illegal drugs is state-sanctioned, the writings are on the wall. For our country to become a narco state will work in favor of China as they can now dictate the country’s leadership through the use of drug money. When Duterte expressed his anti west sentiments, it does not mean he is for China. Duterte’s position of pushing for an independent foreign policy is the only way to preserve our country’s existence – not by siding to either of the bully countries. The on-going polarization of our country due to controversies besetting the Duterte government is therefore the resultant effect of the proxy war between US and China. Filipinos should see this instead of falling into the trap by fighting with each other over his foul mouth while the real culprits are watching with amusement from afar. We may not agree with Duterte in many respects, and for sure, he respects our democratic rights to disagree with him. But we have to be with him in his fight against this creeping proxy war that is happening in our land and gradually destroying our country.”

    Since President Duterte was elected as President, I tried to understand his thinking. I try to understand his point of views, and read about the Philippine history. I read about the time it was a Spanish colony, and the time the US took over the colony, and how the US betrayal’d the then President Aquinaldo. I read about the US war crimes in the Philippines in Internet. One scholar said that the Americans had killed more Philippine people in 15 years, than the Spaniards did in 300 years. I read about the battle of Manila where more than 100,000 civilians died due to shelling of the city. McArthur’s decision to attack the Japanese in Manila house to house, instead of going after the main Japanese forces in the North was disastrous for the civilians. So in history, there are 3 countries who had killed thousands of people in the Philippines. As a foreigner, I can’t understand why lots of people in the Philippines are so pro American, unless they have never been told the real story in class,as the Philippines was an American colony. My conclusion is that President Duterte is right. This man know the real history of his country.
    (c) Rolf Van Heusden

  • Mr. Avelino…pwde kana lumayas dito sa pinas…lahat may sulosyon…alam ni duterte yan…kalooban ng diyos ang pagkapanalo ni duterte…cguro nman may purpose ang diyos…at ang wisdom mo hindi kailan hihigit sa kanya…

  • I am afraid we both lost the opportunities by his ATRAS ABANTE style of deplomacy. When in China he was very clear in his speech of separation from US a statement interpreted by Chinese as severance from long established friendships. It made the Chinese ecstatics when he further declared he joined with Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin in their war for world order. The results of his speech had confused US and Japan the bitter foe of China. When he returned from his state visit he again changed his tone. His interpretation was not to sever relations but separation of foreign policy from the dictates of US. His statement again had casted doubt on China as if he took them from roller coaster ride of seems empty rhetorics. Ang masama nito baka mawalan tayo ng kaibigan dahil sa sariling KABUANGAN ng ating lider.

    • That is only your own interpretation Sir because you dislike the President. Just wait and see the results and please he is not that buang just as u thought him to be. Ask the Davaoeños who knows him more. Don’t be too nega and assuming ok?