Chinese Commerce Minister concludes four-day visit to the Philippines
China's newly appointed Commerce Minister Zhong Shan has just completed a four-day visit to the Philippines. Zhong was the first Chinese minister to visit the Philippines since bi-lateral relations between the two countries got back on track. This trip aims to implement the consensus reached by the two countries' presidents last year, and prepare for Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang's visit to the Philippines next week.
Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and six ministers in Manila.
Zhong also co-hosted the 28th Philippine-Chinese Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation. The commission resumed after a six-year suspension.
And the two countries decided to sign the Six-Year Development Plan of China-Philippines Economic and Trade Cooperation, when Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang visits the Philippines next week.
China says it's willing to import more agricultural products from the Philippines, and considering building industry parks in the Philippines.
"The visit was fruitful. The two sides agreed to facilitate cooperation in bi-lateral trade, investment, development aid, and projects of important infrastructure and improving people's livelihoods," Sun Jiwen, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman said.
Because of the South China Sea issue, bi-lateral relations between China and the Philippines experienced a couple of tense years. But after taking office in June 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte chose a different path to engage with China, cooperation, rather than confrontation.
Duterte visited China and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping last October, which indicated a comprehensive improvement in the bi-lateral relations of the two nations. High-level bilateral exchanges have become more frequent since then.
"We need to make up the time we wasted in the past. We agreed to establish a bilateral mechanism to resolve the South China Sea issue. Bilateral relations have seen sunshine after the rain," Chinese Foreign Miniser Wang Yi said.
Since last October, the number of Chinese tourism groups to the Philippines has increased by one-thousand, and China has imported more than 20-tons of tropical fruits from the Philippines. Beijing says the door to China's huge market is wide-open to the Philippines.
Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan is the first Chinese minister to visit the Philippines after the bilateral relationship got back on track. Beijing says it fully shows China's willingness to strengthen friendly cooperation with the Philipines. And the Philippine president also said during his visit, that the bilateral relations are embracing a warm spring after going through a long chilly winter.
Editor: Eric Wang