China's Xi visits Philippines to deepen ties with US ally

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China's Xi Jinping Pays His First Visit to the Philippines

The most famous previous example, the 2004 Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking, was signed by China and the Philippines, with Vietnam joining the agreement later on to explore the South China Sea for oil and natural gas.

One was approval for a Chinese loan for building a $232.5 million dam, another a hiring of a consultancy for a rail plan.

As far as China is concerned, setting aside the territorial dispute with the Philippines for now and embarking on joint oil and natural gas development can even kill three birds with one stone: first, turning Manila from foe into friend; second, alleviating its own energy shortage, and third, depriving the United States of any excuse to get involved in the South China Sea dispute.

Other Philippine experts say delays in securing Chinese credit could be a blessing given the potential debt burden, echoing a warning delivered by US Vice President Mike Pence.

Chinese ambassador to the Philippines said that the upcoming visit by President Xi Jinping has far-reaching significance and it will be a milestone for stronger and closer relations between the two countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, shakes hands with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

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The arbitration was launched by the Philippines, whose "sovereign rights" it said China had violated.

But the Foreign Secretary said he could lift the moratorium, but would need a go-signal from President Rodrigo Duterte.

The memorandum of understanding on cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative was among the 29 agreements forged by the two nations during Xi's visit.

The same survey found that 65 percent were aware of China's abuses of Filipino fishermen in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

There were doubts about the Chinese leader's stopover in sunny Manila after his weekend attendance at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea.

The Philippines won in 2016 the case it filed against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, striking down as invalid China's nine-dash-line claim that it uses to claim almost all of the South China Sea.

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Xi said the Chinese government is also "looking forward" to accommodate more Filipino English teachers in China.

Asked whether it was OK for him that China was dictating the contents of the deal, he said: "No". While Western governments have sharply criticized Duterte's brutal crackdown against illegal drugs, China has not.

At ASEAN, Duterte had called on the stop military drills near disputed areas, saying China is already "in possession" of it. Pence last week said the USA supports a "free and open" Indo-Pacific and "will continue to sail and fly wherever worldwide law allows and our national interests demand".

Arroyo, who led the House contingent, thanked the Chinese leader for the general support he has demonstrated toward development of the Philippines.

The agreement, however, was between the countries' respective oil companies, Escudero said.

Arroyo praised China's leaders for the speedy and impressive growth of the Asian nation, "particularly during the last 40 years".

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China and the Philippines agreed to maintain the positive momentum of the negotiations on the Single Draft Code of Conduct Negotiating Text, with a view towards the early adoption of an effective code of conduct, based on consensus. "It is good for China, it is good for the Philippines, it is good for the world", she said.

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