PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China shows the two countries have resumed friendly relations for win-win, which are also conducive to regional peace and stability, global observers and analysts told Xinhua.
The visit is significant in that it is not only Duterte’s first visit outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but also came ahead of his visit to the Philippines’ traditional allies, the United States and Japan, said Earl Parreno, a political analyst at the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms in the Philippines.
“This visit could mean more investments coming into the country, more opportunities for businessmen and more employment for Filipinos. It could also mean markets for Philippine products like bananas and pineapples,” said Parreno.
Ngeow Chow Bing, deputy director of the Institute of China Studies at the University of Malaya, also spoke highly of Duterte’s visit to China, saying that the China-Philippine relationship going back on track is conducive to regional peace and stability.
The relationship between China and the Southeast Asian countries is comprehensive and complex, which involves not just military or security issues, but also trade, cultural and tourism opportunities, the Malaysian expert said.
Soukthavy Keola, a former counselor at the Lao Embassy in China, said the result of Duterte’s visit is of strategic importance to the region.
The development of cooperation between the two countries will have a positive influence on cooperation between China and ASEAN countries, said Keola.
Li Mingjiang, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, said Duterte’s visit is an obvious adjustment of Philippine foreign policy, especially about its relations with major world countries.
Different from his predecessor Benigno Aquino III, who largely depended on the United States in his foreign policy, Duterte has adopted a policy of diversifying friendly relations with major world countries and his visit to China reflects this policy, said Li.
“It is expected that in the next few years, China-Philippine relations will return to the normal track, and cooperation in many areas will be strengthened,” he said.
Pierre Picquart, an expert in Geopolitics and China at the University of Paris VIII, told Xinhua that Duterte has chosen the path of reason “rather than promoting geopolitical, economic and territorial tensions about the South China Sea, and unlike his predecessor Benigno Aquino.”
“This is a peaceful way, with bilateral negotiations and path of economic growth in partnership with Beijing for win-win partnerships in the region,” Picquart said, hailing that the “former American colony now seems to break his ancestral chains.”
Bambang Purwanto, director of international department at Indonesia’s Antara News Agency, said Duterte has made a good start on relations with China and the two countries should strike for positive results from the current visit to create a good atmosphere.
“I am sure that the visit will ease the tension in the South China Sea, and start the process to make the two people’s know each other, to know that cooperation is the right way to develop bilateral ties,” said Purwanto.
Duterte arrived in Beijing Tuesday night for a four-day state visit to China, the first country he has visited outside ASEAN since taking office in June.
The visit came against a backdrop of deteriorating China-Philippines ties due to the South China Sea arbitration case unilaterally initiated against China by his predecessor Benigno Aquino III.