Duterte pledges PH to uphold open, rules-based international order in Belt and Road Forum
President Rodrigo Duterte vowed on Friday that the Philippines would uphold and defend the open and rules-based international order during his attendance to the Second Belt and Road Forum being held in Beijing, China.
In his speech during the high-level meeting, Duterte said the Philippines would continue to cooperate in the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative to the extent that it complements the ASEAN and the country's development initiatives.
"This is the premise of the Philippines’ engagement with the world. In pursuit to our independent foreign policy, we will uphold and defend the open and rules-based international order," he said.
"To the extent the Belt and Road Forum complements ASEAN and our national development initiatives, including the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity, and creates an environment conducive to productive bilateral undertakings, the Philippines shall continue to participate, contribute, and cooperate," Duterte added.
The Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative aims to strengthen infrastructure, trade, and investment links between China and over 60 other countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.
During the forum, Duterte reminded that development assistance must be used as a "genuine tool to bring about positive change in the lives of our peoples."
"And it must be a purposive decision of partner-states, taking into account mutual respect and mutual interests. Development assistance should build on capacities of nations. It should never foster dependence. It should be based on reciprocal benefits, motivated by keen interest in partner states to bring about real progress," he said.
China has been funding through loans at least two infrastructure projects in the Philippines and has promised to provide more loans and grant aids.
But some quarters have raised concern that the Philippines could fall into China's debt trap. Manila and Beijing are engaged in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Celerina Monte/DMS