DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 September) — China’s top diplomat in Mindanao vowed Sunday night that Beijing will continue to help develop the island’s potentials “so it can strongly contribute to the growing bilateral ties between the two countries.”
Li Lin, consul general of the Chinese Consular Office here, gave the assurance in a dinner reception to celebrate the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) 70th foundation anniversary on October 1.
“China’s cooperation with the southern part of the Philippines will be brought to a higher level. (With that) Mindanao is going to contribute more significantly to China-Philippine relations,” Li said in a speech before some 1,000 Chinese nationals at the SMX Convention Center here.
Next year marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and the Philippines, but it is only in President Rodrigo Duterte’s term that ties between the two countries became warmer.
Months after assuming power in 2016, Duterte pivoted to China “to pursue an independent foreign policy,” distancing the country from long-time ally United States.
According to Li, the future “looks bright for China-Philippine cooperation as long as both sides can keep an overall vision and trust each other.”
Li stressed that under Chinese President Xi Jinping and Duterte, the relations between the two countries “is now in the best period.”
China last year established a consular office in Davao, where Duterte served as mayor for over two decades, an offshoot of his pivot to Beijing.
Li noted that China’s social and economic cooperation in Mindanao has grown following the setting up of the consular office here.
Besides the high-level official visits by both sides, China, in the past 12 months, donated two drug rehabilitation centers in Sarangani and Agusan del Sur, Li pointed out.
With the joint efforts of the two sides, young coconuts and tuna produce from Mindanao had landed in Chinese shores, Li said.
Currently, Li revealed they are working with the local and national governments to push the cooperation agreements for major infrastructure projects that included the Davao-Samal bridge, Davao river bridge and ambitious Mindanao railway project.
As the guest of honor Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte lauded China for becoming one of the world’s super powers in a span of 70 years.
“The historic rise of the People’s Republic of China since its foundation is one that will be remembered for generations to come,” she said.
“As one of the Philippines’ biggest economic partners, we recognized how China’s growth is integral not only to our nation but all of Asia,” she added.
In the past few years, the mayor noted that the relationship between “China and Davao have truly blossomed.”
Davao and China’s Jinjiang and Nanning cities have forged sisterhood ties.
Local officials from different parts of Mindanao and consular corps in Davao graced the dinner reception for PRC’s 70th foundation anniversary. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)