Overview of China-Philippines Bilateral Relations
(2009/03/05)

. Review of Bilateral Political Relations

China and the Philippines established diplomatic relations on 9 June 1975. Over the 34 years, China-Philippines relations in general have attained a smooth development, and also remarkable achievements in all areas of bilateral cooperation.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, there has been frequent exchange of high-level visits between China and the Philippines. President Marcos (June 1975), President Aquino (April 1988), President Ramos (April 1993), President Estrada (May 2000) and President Arroyo (November 2001 and September 2004) visited China. Premier Li Peng (December 1990), Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 8th National People's Congress Mr. Qiao Shi (August 1993), President Jiang Zemin (November 1996), Premier Zhu Rongji (November 1999), Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 9th National People's Congress Mr. Li Peng (September 2002), Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress Mr. Wu Bangguo (August 2003), President Hu Jintao (April 2005) and Premier Wen Jiabao (January 2007) visited the Philippines.

During President Jiang Zemin's state visit to the Philippines in 1996, leaders of the two countries agreed to establish a cooperative relationship based on good-neighborliness and mutual trust towards the 21st century, and reached important consensus and understanding of "Shelving disputes and going in for joint development" on the issue of South China Sea. In 2000, China and the Philippines signed the "Joint Statement Between China and the Philippines on the Framework of Bilateral Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century", which confirmed that the two sides will establish a long-term and stable relationship on the basis of good neighborliness, cooperation, mutual trust and benefit. During President Hu Jintao's state visit to the Philippines in 2005, both countries are determined to establish the strategic and cooperative relations that aim at the peace and development. During Premier Wen Jiabao's official visit to the Philippines in January 2007, both sides issued a joint statement, reaffirming the commitment of taking further steps to deepen the strategic and cooperative relationship for peace and development between the two countries.

In April 2007, President Arroyo attended the annual meeting of the Boao Forum for Asia. In June 2007, President Arroyo visited Chengdu and Chongqing, and in October, Her Excellency attended Shanghai Special Olympics and paid a side trip to Yantai, Shandong Province. In January 2008, Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives Hon. De Venecia visited China. In August, President Arroyo attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games and paid a side trip to Chengdu. In October, Her Excellency President Arroyo attended the Asia-Europe Summit Meeting in China and had a side trip to Wuhan and Hangzhou. Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives Hon. Nograles went to Nanning for the 5th China-ASEAN Expo and paid a visit to Kunming and Xiamen. Vice President Hon. De Castro attended the 9th China Western International Exposition in Chengdu. In November, Vice President De Castro attended the 4th World Cities Forum in Nanjing and visited Anhui and Shanghai. In December, President Arroyo went to Hong Kong to attend the Clinton Global Initiative Forum- Asia Meeting.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines set up a consultation mechanism in 1991, and 15 rounds of diplomatic consultations have been held since then. Apart from reciprocal establishment of Embassies, China has a consulate general in Cebu, and established a consulate office in Laoag in April 2007. The Philippines have consulate generals in Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu and Hong Kong SAR respectively.

Ⅱ. Bilateral Trade Relations and Economic, Technological Cooperation

Bilateral trade volume in 2007 was 30.62 billion USD. From January to October 2008, bilateral trade volume reached 25.3 billion USD, an increase of 1.4% as compared with the same period last year. By the end of September 2008, the actually utilized value of accumulative investment from the Philippines to China reached 2.5 billion USD.

In 1999, China's Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture of the Philippines signed the Agreement on Strengthening Cooperation in Agriculture and Related Fields. In 2000, relevant government agencies signed an agreement whereby China offers the Philippines 100 million USD credit facility. In March 2003, China's aid project the China-Philippines Agricultural Technology Center was completed. With its successful trial planting in the Philippines, China's fine hybrid rice and corn have been growing over large areas in the country. In 2004, both sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Fisheries Cooperation. In January 2007, Chinese and Philippine Ministries of Agriculture signed Memorandum of Understanding on Broadening and Deepening Agriculture and Fisheries Cooperation.

In August 2003, the two countries signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Constructing the Northern Luzon Railway Project. In April 2005, the two countries signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Infrastructure between the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China and the Department of Trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines.

III. Exchanges and Cooperation in the Fields of Culture, Education, Science and the Military, etc.

The cooperation in the fields of culture, technology, judiciary and tourism between the two countries achieves continuous progress. So far, the two sides have signed 11 two-year action plans of cultural cooperation. The joint committee of scientific and technological cooperation has held 13 sessions, during which 244 research projects have been confirmed. The Chinese official Xinhua News Agency has its branch in Manila while CCTV-4, the Chinese international TV program, has landed in the Philippines. The major bilateral agreements between the two countries are as follows:

Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement (1978), Cultural Cooperation Agreement (1979), Civil Aviation and Transportation Agreement (1979), Memorandum of Understanding on Sports Cooperation (2001), Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Information Industry (2001), Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Crackdown on Transnational Crimes (2001), Treaty on Extradition (2001), Pact on Cooperation Against Illicit Traffic and Abuse of Narcotic Drugs (2001), Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation ( 2002), Memorandum of Understanding on Maritime Cooperation(2005), Pact on Cooperation in Youth Affairs(2005), Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Sanitary and Phytosanitary Cooperation(2007), Memorandum of Understanding on Education Cooperation(2007), Pact on Protection of Cultural Heritage(2007), Pact on Sanitary Cooperation(2008), etc.

There are 24 pairs of sister-cities or sister-provinces between China and the Philippines, namely: Hangzhou and Baguio City, Guangzhou and Manila City, Shanghai and Metro Manila, Xiamen and Cebu City, Shenyang and Quezon City, Fushun and Lipa City, Hainan and Cebu Province, Sanya and Lapu-Lapu City, Shishi and Naya City, Shandong and Ilocos Norte Province, Zibo and Manduae City, Anhui and Nueva Ecija Province, Hubei and Leyte Province, Liuzhou and Muntinlupa City, Hezhou and San Fernando City, Haerbin and Cagayan de Oro City, Laibin and Laoag City, Beijing and Manila City, Jiangxi and Bohol Province, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Davao City, Lanzhou and Albay Province, Beihai and Puerto Princessa City, Fujian Province and Laguna Province, Wuxi and Puerto Princessa City.

In recent years, military exchanges between the two countries are on the rise. In April 2002, Philippine Secretary of Defense Reyes visited to China. In June, Philippine naval fleets visited China for the first time. In September, Chinese Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, State Councilor and Defense Minister Chi Haotian visited the Philippines. In 2004, Narciso Abaya, Chief of the General Staff of Philippine Armed Forces (AFP) and Secretary of Defense Avelino Cruz paid visits to China respectively, and both sides established the mechanism of annual Defense and Security Consultation. In May 2005, Xiong Guangkai, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) visited the Philippines and held the first Defense and Security Consultation with Philippine Defense Undersecretary Antonio Santos. In May 2006, Chief of the General Staff of AFP Gen. Denga visited China. In October, Philippine vice Secretary of Defense Santos visited China and both sides held the second round of Defense and Security Consultation. Also in October, North China Sea Fleet visited the Philippines, conducting a joint non-traditional security exercises. In May 2007, Zhang Qinsheng, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of PLA visited the Philippines and both sides held the Defense and Security Consultation for the third time. Chinese Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, State Councilor and Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan, paid a visit to the Philippines in September.

IV. Other Issues Concerning the bilateral Relations

The two countries have disputes over the sovereignty of some islands and shoals in Nansha. After rounds of consultations, both sides agreed to strive for a solution through bilateral friendly consultation. In October 2004, Chinese Maritime Safety Administration and Philippine Coast Guard conducted a joint sand table rescue exercise for the first time. Due to the great efforts by both sides, China National Offshore Oil Corp. and Philippine National Oil Company signed the "Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking on Certain Areas in the South China Sea" in September 1, 2004. In May 2005, Viet Nam agreed to join the Sino-Philippine cooperation. Oil companies from three countries signed the "Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking on Certain Areas in the South China Sea" in March, 2005.

V. Important Bilateral Documents

1. In June 1975, Premier Zhou Enlai and President Marcos signed the "Joint Communiqué of the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines" in Beijing.

2. In May 2000, President Estrada paid a state visit to China and signed the "Joint Statement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines on the Framework of Bilateral Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century" with President Jiang Zemin in Beijing.

3. In September 2004, President Arroyo paid a state visit to China, and both sides issued the "Joint Press Statement of the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines".

4. In April 2005, President Hu Jintao paid a state visit to the Philippines and the two sides issued the "Joint Statement of the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines".

5. In January 2007, Premier Wen Jiabao paid an official visit to the Philippines and the two sides issued the "Joint Statement of the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines".

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