发布者: xkai2000 | 发布时间: 2022-6-19 13:57| 查看数: 75| 评论数: 0|

Filipino entrepreneur Wilson Lee Flores can still recall the first time he saw President Xi Jinping in person. It was in November 2018 at a dinner in Manila held in honor of the first Chinese leader to visit the Philippines in 13 years.


Flores, honorary chairman of the Anvil Business Club, an association of Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs in Manila, said Xi left a strong impression on him, even though they did not have a personal encounter.


Xi "came across (as a) very dignified leader", Flores said. Among Philippine media, business and government officials, Xi is regarded as a "strong-willed, dignified yet friendly leader", he added.


Henry Lim Bon Liong, president of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, who was also at the state banquet, had a similar impression. Xi is "very friendly, a jolly good fellow … someone that you can trust, that you can rely on", he said.


As Filipino-Chinese businessmen, Lim and Flores welcomed Xi's visit because it underscored the importance of China-Philippine relations. Lim said that as someone who is "Chinese by blood (and) Filipino by heart" it gave him great pleasure to see both "come together (and) seal their friendship".


Flores said, "China is a major power and a big country. For their head of state to come personally to visit the Philippines, (which is considered) an old friend, a good neighbor… that gave a very big moral boost to bilateral relations."


In Asian culture "nothing beats personal encounters and personal meetings between leaders", Flores said, and Xi's visit expressed not only the president's personal goodwill, "but his country's goodwill toward the Philippines".


In a joint news conference with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Xi emphasized the close bilateral ties.


Both sides agreed to elevate the bilateral relationship into one of comprehensive, strategic cooperation.


Twenty-nine cooperation documents were signed during Xi's visit, 11 of which were related to infrastructure. These included an infrastructure collaboration program; joint development of industrial parks; feasibility studies for road and bridge projects in central and southern Philippines; and a loan agreement on the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project. All these infrastructure projects were in line with the Duterte administration's flagship infrastructure development program, Build, Build, Build.


Lim, the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry's president, said Build, Build, Build is one of the cornerstone programs of the Duterte administration, and for it to be feasible, the Philippines will need huge resources.


China is a "good ally" for the program, Lim said.


Ernesto Pernia, former Philippine Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, recalled that infrastructure financing was among the highlights of Xi's state visit. Pernia was among the Philippine Cabinet officials who met with Xi during his state visit to Manila.


"It somehow strengthened the relationship between the two countries, especially the friendship between the two leaders. A long litany of infrastructure projects to be funded by China's official development assistance was discussed" by ministers and secretaries "in the presence of the two heads of state", Pernia added.


Chinese merchants have been sailing to the Philippines since the 10th century and bartered with ceramics, silk and beads for Philippine pearls, tortoise shells and hemp fabric. Chinese-Philippine trading thrived even during the Spanish colonial period. Some Chinese traders would eventually settle in Binondo, marry Philippine women and create a Philippine-Chinese community.


Xi discussed the centuries-old ties between the two countries in a signed article with the headline "Open up a new future together for China-Philippine relations".The article was published in three Philippine newspapers just before his visit.






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