Newly appointed Chinese Amb. Huang Xilian has committed to institutionalize the conduct of regular meetings between the Philippines and China to thresh out issues involving the Duterte administration’s big-ticket infrastructure and development projects that are being implemented with funding support from China.
Huang made this commitment in response to the proposal of Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III to hold regular dialogues between high-level officials of the Philippines and China to address such concerns.
In his recent courtesy visit to Dominguez, Beijing’s new ambassador also reiterated China’s commitment to further enhance its bilateral relations with Manila and heighten cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
“It would be very helpful if we have a regular meetings regarding these projects. Our suggestion has always been to meet once every three or four months,” Dominguez said.
Huang agreed with the Finance chief, and said he would “work very hard” to ensure that projects under the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure modernization program that are being implemented in cooperation with China would be launched “as soon as possible”.
“We will try to make this (regular meetings) happen as soon as possible. My suggestion is we need to institutionalize that kind of mechanism. Every three months to take place, every quarter,” he said.
He said that when he was assigned several years ago to Pakistan, he made a similar suggestion to hold periodic meetings every two months between top officials of their countries to cement their bilateral relations.
The Chinese envoy who replaced Zhao Jianhua as China’s ambassador to the Philippines, presented his credentials to President Duterte last December 4.
According to the diplomat, he was informed by his staff at the Chinese Embassy that 10 projects in the Philippines “are being completed” in cooperation with China.
“We hope all these projects will bring real tangible benefits to our peoples,” he said.
The two officials also discussed ways of improving people-to-people an cultural exchanges between the two countries, particularly in the fields of sports, music and entertainment.
During the meeting, Huang cited the key role played by Secretary Dominguez in promoting understanding between Manila and Beijing, and described the DoF chief as among the “major architects of cooperation” between the two countries.