Philippine senators ask Duterte to disclose China energy plan

Philippine senators ask Duterte to disclose China energy plan

Philippine senators ask Duterte to disclose China energy plan

This dispute has helped galvanize tough anti-Chinese sentiments among Filipinos, leading to both a mixed reaction to Xi's official visit in Manila and, more broadly, criticisms of Duterte's inaction to China's intrusion in and militarization of the disputed areas.

He will be the first Chinese leader to visit the Philippines in 13 years.

Beijing's relations with Manila deteriorated over the territorial rifts until Duterte won the presidency in mid-2016 and sought to rebuild ties with China while criticizing US security policies in a dramatic pivot.

He said: "I think China strengthening relationships with Manila is really an interesting way and a cunning way to divide ASEAN, ASEAN's unity".

"The two sides will seek greater complementarity between China's Belt and Road Initiative and the Philippines' development strategy, move forward cooperation around the three pillars of security, development, and people-to-people ties and then make our cooperation more comprehensive and balanced", he added.

He said he still needs to secure permission from China and present a copy of the agreement to senators, who are demanding transparency in the Philippines' deals with the Eastern giant.

But he said the relationship between the USA and the Philippines remained strong. Duterte told People's Daily that the Philippines is now promoting large-scale infrastructure construction, and multiple projects are being implemented under the cooperation between China and the Philippines, some of which are about to be completed soon. The bonhomie carried on despite the untimely release of poll results pointing to anti-Chinese sentiments in the Philippines just before the red carpet was rolled out for Xi (in a double blow, the poll also revealed far higher levels of trust in the United States).

"However the worldwide situation may change, both sides will remain committed to this relationship and work hard to make it even stronger", he continued.

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In fact, since President Duterte took office in 2016, Sino-Philippine relations were highly boosted.

While there was support in government for the latter, "that doesn´t mean that every bureaucrat, local politician, and the general public enthusiastically jumps on board", Wyatt said.

Many Filipinos resent Beijing's claim over most of the South China Sea, which an worldwide tribunal ruled in 2016 was without basis.

Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary Teodoro Locsin Jnr on Twitter suggested no deal was imminent, but he also added that any agreement could be signed with the Department of Energy and Department of Justice.

Apart from the Philippines, countries which have territorial claims in the South China Sea include Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

"What he is saying is, we have to exercise self-restraint because any conflict that arises in that region will definitely affect us, as I said earlier, it could be inflaming collateral damage or creating inferno", he said.

All these fruitful outcomes have been possible due to the two sides' reengagement in consultation and dialogue in handling the South China issue. "We will not change course", U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence said in a weekend meeting in Papua New Guinea that was attended by Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum leaders, including Xi.

Local media highlighted the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the development of oil and gas, which is highly beneficial, according to experts, for Manila and Beijing.

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