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China wants broader ties with PH

/ 03:29 PM May 20, 2017
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. AP FILE PHOTO

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. AP FILE PHOTO

China is willing to expand common interests and properly settle differences with the Philippines to consolidate public support for their ties getting back to a sound track, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday.

Li made the remarks when meeting with Pantaleon Alvarez, speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, in Beijing.

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Li said that a good neighborhood friendship between the two countries meets the fundamental interests of both peoples and contributes to regional peace and stability. He said China is ready to deepen mutual trust and communication with the Philippines to sustain a healthy and sound growth of ties.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). Li said China is ready to support the work of the Philippines, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the Asean this year, and work with all parties to improve China-Asean ties as well as regional cooperation.

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Alvarez said the Philippine legislative body supports the efforts of President Rodrigo Duterte in improving and developing ties with China. He said the two countries’ consolidated cooperation has resulted in many new achievements, and this will contribute to cooperation with and consensus among Asian countries.

Alvarez said he welcomes Li to the Philippines this year for the Leaders’ Meetings on East Asia Cooperation.

Ties between the two countries have continued to improve since Duterte’s visit to China in October.

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The Philippine embassy in China has seen a 200 percent increase in visa applications for tourism and business, Ambassador Jose Santiago Santa Romana said, according to The Philippine Star.

The ambassador said there had been a decline in the number of Chinese tourists but things have changed since Beijing lifted all travel advisories.

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He added that the Philippine government aims to double tourism arrivals this year. “(We) will hit 1 million (arrivals) this year, so we are just scratching the surface,” the ambassador said, noting that the nation’s consulates in China are now deluged with visa applications.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday: “I think it’s a good thing that the number of Chinese people visiting the Philippines is increasing rapidly.”

The improvement in ties “has provided a good political environment for nongovernmental exchanges between the two countries,” Hua said.

“In turn, strengthened friendly exchanges between the two peoples will definitely promote bilateral understanding and trust, consolidate public support for neighborly and friendly bilateral relations, and accumulate more positive energy for healthy and steady development of bilateral ties,” she said.

The two countries and their people will enjoy more concrete benefits as the two countries keep advancing their pragmatic cooperation in different fields, Hua said.

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TAGS: China, Li Keqiang, Pantaleon Alvarez, Philippines, South China Sea, territorial dispute
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