China and the Philippines promise to keep bilateral ties on-track
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who's now on an official visit to the Philippines after wrapping up this week's sessions with ASEAN, says he's glad to see that China-Philippine ties are warming up after several years of frosty relations over issues in the South China Sea.
"Winter has come to the Northern Hemisphere but the temperature in Manila is still running pretty high. I think that somewhat reflects the temperature of China-Philippine relations which is also going pretty high on the basis of the positive improvement of the relations between the two countries. We hope that we will continue to work together to strengthen this positive momentum, and work together to make up for the time that we may have lost."
Li Keqiang has pointed to Rodrigo Duterte's visit to China last October, calling it an "ice-breaker."
The Premier says he hopes to build on what Duterte started in China as part of his time in the Philippines.
For his part, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says the restoration of warmer ties is going to benefit both sides.
"I am pleased to note the positive turnaround and vigorous momentum of Philippines-China relations. Mutual trust and confidence building have led to increased interaction on many levels of our two governments. Practical cooperation in many areas is bringing in an early harvest of tangible benefits."
The two leaders have overseen the signing of 14 cooperation agreements covering infrastructure financing, bond issues, drug rehabilitation, climate change, intellectual property protection and industrial capacity cooperation.
They've announced that work is getting underway on a pair of bridges in Manila, as well as two drug rehabilitation centers in Mindanao.
At the same time, Li Keqiang has also announced a grant of 150 million yuan or some 23 million U.S. dollars from China to assist in the reconstruction of war-torn Marawi in southern Philippines.
The Philippine government recently declared victory over Islamic State-linked extremists in Marawi, ending a five-month siege of the city which left more than 11-hundred dead.
Li Keqiang says he's confident the Philippine government is capable of restoring life back to normal in Marawi.
"The Chinese government will provide 150 million Yuan of grants for the rebuilding and improvement of livelihoods in Marawi to demonstrate the support of the Chinese people. We have full confidence that under your leadership, Mr. President, and the leadership of your government, the rebuilding of Marawi will be completed at a very early date and the local people will embrace an even better life."
Li Keqiang is the first Chinese premier to pay an official visit to the Philippines in a decade.
Prior to his official visit, Li Keqiang attended this year's ASEAN summits in Manila.
For CRI, I'm Gao Junya.