A Chinese official on Monday said since President Rodrigo Duterte took office three years ago, the China-Philippines cooperation has been “greatly reinforced.”
“Since President Duterte took office in 2016, under the strategic guidance of our two leaders, China-Philippines relations have witnessed turnaround, consolidation, and elevation, and entered a new golden age,” said Embassy Chargé D’affaires a. i. Tan Qingsheng at the reception for the 121st Independence Day of the Philippines and the 18th China-Philippines Friendship Day.
“Our strategic coordination on bilateral and international affairs has been greatly reinforced,” he said.
Tan highlighted the milestones Beijing and Manila achieved over the past three years.
Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping have already met seven times and have signed more than 20 agreements during the latter’s visit in the Philippines last year.
“(This) elevated our bilateral relationship to comprehensive strategic cooperation,” Tan said.
Over the past three years, the series of dialogue and consultation mechanisms have also been revitalized, such as in foreign affairs, defense, energy, economy, and trade consultations, Tan said.
“Our cooperation in various fields has generated tangible benefits for our peoples. In 2018, bilateral trade volume reached USD55.7 billion, with an 8.5 percent year-on-year increase,” he said.
“China is now the Philippines’ top trading partner, the largest source of imports and the fourth largest export market,” he said, noting that China will continue its cooperation with the Philippines.