DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 29 Oct) – Expect more Chinese tourists to flock Davao City, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during Sunday’s inauguration of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in the city.
Wang, who thanked President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Mayor Sara Duterte for opening the city’s “gate to China,” said the consulate will boost subnational interactions between the two countries and highlighted Davao as a “pioneer and shining example.”
“I believe more Chinese visitors will come to Davao to enhance the friendship between our two peoples and contribute to the development of this city and the Southern Philippines,” he said.
On the same day, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Group launched a direct four times a week Davao-Hong Kong flight.
China’s top diplomat said Davao is one of the cities in the Philippines with “closest interactions with China.”
Data from the City Tourism Office (CTO) released on Monday said close to 8,000 Chinese tourists visited the city from January to September this year. For the same period, 16,000 American and 9,800 Japanese tourists visited the city.
CTO head Generose Tecson said the opening of the consulate shows China’s recognition of the growing development of the city.
“They are here to facilitate trade and friendship between their people and Mindanawons,” she said.
Davao had been visited by Chinese military aircrafts and research/survey vessels Yuan Wang 3 and Yuan Wang 7 this year. Crew members were also taken on an excursion in some places around the city.
“Setting up a consulate general in Davao reflects the deepening of the friendship between China and the Philippines and serves the all around closeness of our cooperation,” Wang said.
He said the decision of the Chinese government to establish a consulate general in Davao “speaks volumes of our full confidence in the city’s future.”
He said China’s relationship with the Philippines has been fully realized under the administration of President Duterte who served as mayor of Davao for 22 years.
“Well-governed by President Duterte for years, Davao has enjoyed political stability, social harmony, prospering growth, and a promising future becoming one of the most tranquil cities in the Philippines. Since taking over the baton from President Duterte, Mayor Sara has worked with strong determination and pioneering spirit,” he said.
Newly-installed Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin said the Philippines has always been a friend of China.
“Being the biggest Philippine city in terms of land area, third largest in terms of population, the inauguration of the Chinese consulate here in Davao is an auspicious sign of the city’s promise and the bright prospects for our engagement with China,” he said.
On the opening of the consulate, Locsin said: “May this be a continued testament to an even more real friendship, to a robust and interconnected relationship, and to sustained interactions between the Philippines and China as we promote our common goals to the mutual benefit of both our great nations.”
Officials from both countries are expected to discuss ways to further advance PH-China relations through cooperation in various areas such as trade, investments, infrastructure, tourism, agriculture, education, science and technology, anti-terrorism anti-narcotics and cultural and people-to-people exchanges. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)