MANILA — Premier Li Keqiang’s upcoming official visit to the Philippines and attendance at the leaders’ meetings for East Asia cooperation will give a strong boost to China’s neighborhood diplomacy, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said in a recently-published signed article.
He will visit the Philippines and attend a series of high-level meetings from Nov 12-16, including the 12th East Asia Summit, the 20th China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders’ meeting, and the 20th ASEAN-China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) leaders’ meeting.
The ambassador said that Premier Li’s trip is an important move of multilateral diplomacy undertaken by a Chinese leader after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and also the first visit to the Philippines by a Chinese premier in 10 years.
“It’s of great significance and has drawn wide attention,” Zhao said.
While attending the leader’s meeting for East Asia cooperation, Premier Li, together with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), will review the development achievements China and ASEAN countries have made and put forward the “China initiative” in fostering strategic mutual trust, boosting economy, trade and investment, and promoting people-to-people exchanges, according to the ambassador.
China and ASEAN, linked by waters and mountains, are good neighbors and good partners who collaborate closely for common development, Zhao said.
“In recent years, China-ASEAN relations have grown into the most dynamic and the richest in connotation in the relations between ASEAN and its dialogue partners,” he added.
Noting that China and ASEAN will mark the 15th anniversary of their strategic partnership in 2018, Zhao called on both sides to take the opportunity to jointly work for higher-level strategic partnership and build closer China-ASEAN community of shared destiny.
As traditionally-friendly countries, China and the Philippines have achieved great progress in bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties 42 years ago, the ambassador said.
Starting from 2016, Sino-Philippine relationship has entered a new era, with high-level exchanges between the two countries getting more frequent, pragmatic cooperation going deeper and sounder, bilateral mechanisms on foreign affairs, trade, defense, agriculture and fisheries, science and technology being generated.
China and the Philippines have also established a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue and a joint coast guard committee on maritime cooperation, Zhao noted.
The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has been highly compatible with the Philippines’ Ambisyon Natin 2040 and other construction plans, thus bilateral cooperation in infrastructure construction has borne many fruits, he said.
Currently China is the Philippines’ No 1 trade partner and source of imports, and the 4th destination of exports.
The ambassador said China firmly supports the Philippines’ anti-drug efforts, fully backs its anti-terrorism operations in Marawi, and will spare no effort to help the reconstruction and improvement of the livelihood in the war-torn areas.
China and the Philippines have kept close contacts on regional and international affairs, and are both devoted to safeguarding regional peace, stability and development.
The Chinese side fully supports the Philippines in its role as ASEAN’S rotating presidency in 2017, and its effort to successfully hold a series of meetings on East Asia cooperation. It also helps to build the ASEAN community of shared destiny, and lifts the cooperative level in East Asia, said the Chinese ambassador.
The recently concluded 19th CPC National Congress has offered new guidance and arrangements for the Chinese people to achieve their two centenary goals, namely building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the centenary of the CPC, which was established in 1921, and building a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of the 21st century in time for the centenary of the People’s Republic of China, as well as for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the Chinese ambassador said.
“It also sets the advancing direction for China to push for a new type of international relations and a community of shared future for mankind,” he said.
Premier Li’s forthcoming visit to the Philippines will be a new interpretation of China’s foreign principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, inclusiveness, as well as building friendship and partnership with neighboring countries, Zhao noted.
“It will injecting strong and positive energy to the high-level exchanges, strategic mutual trust and interest integration between China and the neighboring countries,” he said.
“We believe that both China and the Philippines will seize the opportunity of Premier Li’s visit to work together so as to create a ‘golden age’ for ties between the two countries and contribute to peace, stability and lasting prosperity of the region.”