Philippines official calls for friendly economic ties with China despite S. China Sea dispute

Hong Kong, Oct. 8 : A senior Filipino official has said that Philippines and China should cooperate in various fields such as economy, trade, energy and infrastructure despite the South China Sea dispute.

Philippines presidential communications operations office secretary Martin Andanar said that the two countries have enjoyed longstanding historical ties can provide each other with lots of opportunities for cooperation in areas such as economy, trade, investment, energy, infrastructure, tourism and manpower, reports Xinhua.

Noting that friendly economic ties with China are "paramount" for the Philippines, Andanar described economic and trade cooperation with China, as a "no-brainer," considering the fact that the two countries are just a stone's throw away.

"The Philippines is also in need of infrastructure such as highways, railways, energy and Internet; China can offer valuable expertise and investments in these regards," he said.

He called for more direct Chinese investments which will be a big push for the economic development of the Philippines.

"When you have foreign direct investment, building manufacturing companies in the Philippines, we give jobs to our people, so it becomes inclusive growth, not only hot money coming in and going out," he said.

With regard to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's probable visit to China, he said that trade and industry cooperation should be high on agenda.

Duterte's trip to Beijing, if coming true, will be his first visit to an East Asian country, Andanar said, calling the two countries "brothers more than anything else" because of the shared long "blood ties" in history between the two countries.

His statements come as reports of President Duterte announcing postponement of joint patrols and naval exercises with the US in the disputed South China Sea and decision to halt the 28 military exercises that are carried out with US forces each year, surfaced yesterday.

Recently the situation between the two partners has been tensed. Duterte had earlier lashed out against the US Government's criticism of his deadly crackdown against illegal drugs, which has left more than 3,600 suspects dead in just three months, alarming western governments and human rights groups.

Source: ANI