"Trust deficit" challenge on China-PH ties - Chinese official
A Chinese diplomat admitted on Friday that one of the challenges on the relations between China and the Philippines is the "trust deficit."
In a speech at the Belt and Road China-Philippine Forum in Pasay City, Chinese Embassy Minister Counselor Tan Qingsheng noted that "single incident or a single issue" in the bilateral relations of the two countries can sometimes "be blown out of proportion."
He did not cite any simple incident or issue.
But the Philippines and China have been embroiled in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, including the June 9 ramming incident at Recto Bank by a Chinese vessel resulting to the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat, endangering the lives of 22 fishermen.
"The other challenge for us is the trust deficit. The relationship between two countries is similar to that of two persons," Tan said.
"Even the closest friends or happiest couple can still have differences and arguments. The secret of friendship or love is to put our differences at a suitable place without undermining the overall relations," he said.
He underscored the importance the media plays in the relationship between Beijing and Manila.
"I sincerely hope that our media friends can help us to paint a complete picture of other country and contribute positively to the promotion of understanding and trust between our two countries," he said.
In the same speech, Tan defended the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), saying it is a "peaceful development platform, not a geopolitical tool."
He also said it is a public good and not a private property.
"All the cooperation projects are not 'imposed on anyone' or designed to 'frame' any other country. The so-called 'China debt trap' is completely groundless. The BRI is a 'pie' for everyone to share, not a 'pitfall' that hinders development," he explained.
Tan also cited the "continuously thriving" people-to-people exchanges between China and the Philippines.
He said Beijing expects over 1.5 million Chinese tourists to visit the Philippines this year from more than 1.2 million last year.
With the expected increase of Chinese arrivals, he said the Philippines could generate more than P32 billion of revenues. Celerina Monte/DMS