• Melo Acuna

Deeper PH-CH relations seen

China’s development traced to poverty alleviation measures

MANILA – Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said remarkable changes took place in most parts of China where poverty was once common. Speaking before the Association for Philippines-China Understanding (APCU) Friday afternoon, the 53-year old and a University of Manchester alumnus said the Communist Party of China is dedicated to fulfill the people’s pursuit of happiness and the rejuvenation of the country.

He cited the latest opinion polling by the Pew Research and Harvard University revealed over 90 percent of the respondents were satisfied with the Chinese government and the rate ranking among the top worldwide.

“china has committed to the path of peaceful development. Former US President Jimmy Carter used to compare the US with China, concluding that ‘the US has only enjoyed 16 years of peace in its 242-year history, making the country the most warlike nation in the history of the world,’ while China has been ‘at peace’ and has sensibly invested in infrastructure to achieve ‘breakneck growth,’” he said. He added he cannot recall his country has started a way nor occupied other’ territories. He likewise claimed China’s defense expenditure in relation to GDP has remained below two percent, way behind the US and other major countries.

He also underscored his government’s empowering its citizens.

“What we have achieved in the past 71 years is not godsend, still less a gift from others. It derives from the hard work, wisdom and courage of the Chinese people from all walks of life,” he said.

He credited President Xi Jinping for encouraging people to strive for a better life.

Ambassador Huang said President Xi, in his recent speech before the United Nations’ 75th General Assembly, referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as “a grave test for the entire world as mankind has entered a new era of interconnectedness, with countries sharing intertwined interests and their future closely linked together.”

He said a superpower has disregarded the trend of history and “has been stoking ideology confrontation” in the world stage and “publicly coercing countries into choosing sides and sabotaging international cooperation against the pandemic for its own political gains.”

Focusing on the domestic front, Ambassador Huang said this year’s 45th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China, has been realized based on an old Chinese saying, “Only friendship built on sincerity can endure.”

He said putting aside differences including maritime disputes has been founded on bilateral consultations through enhanced dialogue and cooperation requiring vigorous implementation by both sides. He added despite COVID-19 pandemic, China has signed projects with a remarkable increase of 26.5% during the year’s first semester. With China’s economic revival and has begun picking up momentum, the GDP has expanded by 3.2 percent year-on-year in the second quarter and foreign trade rising by 6% in August.

Ambassador Huang said China will continue to engage the Philippines in joint COVID-19 prevention and control and exchange experience on the resumption of work and production.

“The South China Sea issue is only a small part of China-Philippines relations,” he added. He described it as a “little pebble” with then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, in his visit to Manila, told then President Corazon C. Aquino that “we can put aside the issue for some time being and take the approach of joint development.”

In closing. Ambassador Huang said against a backdrop of negative and inaccurate reports or accounts, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese enterprises have actively committed to social responsibilities by donating the needed medical supplies to local governments and hospitals. About 50 large-scale Chinese enterprises have employed more than 18,000 Filipinos and would further soon increase.

“As for China debt, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has already disclosed that loans from China only accounts for merely 0.65 percent of the country’s total debt. Even if all the planned financing were implemented, the figure would only be around 4.5 percent by 2022, still much lower than that of other major foreign lenders,” he said.

He called on APCU officers and members to enhance people-to-people exchanges and “make concrete efforts to further deepen the relationship of comprehensive strategic cooperation for common development and prosperity.” (Melo M. Acuña)

Ambassador Huang Xilian speaking before the Association of Philippines-China Understanding (USB) Friday afternoon. (Screen Grab from APCU Zoom Forum)

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