Philippines, China ink 29 deals, including cooperation on oil, gas development
The Philippines and China signed at least 29 agreements, including a memorandum of understanding on cooperation on oil and gas development, and of Belt and Road Initiative.
President Rodrigo Duterte and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping witnessed the exchange of MOUs, letters, and loan agreements between the two countries in a ceremony in Malacanang after their expanded bilateral meeting.
In an interview prior to the signing of the MOU on oil and gas cooperation, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said it was a "non-legally binding" framework.
"It shows how you are to proceed so you can prepare for when you start a negotiation," he said.
Asked if the MOU could apply for future joint exploration agreement in the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea, Locsin said, "it's a framework that will govern an area once that area has been agreed upon according to the framework."
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, in an ambush interview after the exchanges of MOUs between the two countries, said the cooperation would be to "explore a solution...(on) how we can enjoy the resources in the area," referring to the South China Sea.
The other MOUs that were signed were cooperation on Belt and Road Initiative, in key infrastructure projects in Davao region, feasibility study for Davao City Expressway project, and feasibility study for Panay-Guimaras-Negros Islands bridges project, and panda bonds issuance, among others.
There were also exchanges of letters on project of container inspection equipment, Davao River Bridge project, and bridge and road project in Marawi.
Exchange of loan agreements and commercial loan contracts were also signed, such as on the New Centennial Water Source Kaliwa Dam Project, Safe Philippines Project Phase 1, contract for the project management consultancy of the Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Project-North-South Railway Project.
There were also handovers of letter on no objection to the organization of Renminbi-Philippine peso foreign exchange trading market, and of certificate of authority to operate for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited Manila branch.
The two countries also had deals on basic education cooperation, information and communication technology, and agriculture.
Xi is on a two-day state visit in the Philippines. Celerina Monte/DMS