By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is planning to visit China again to seek more trade and investments for the Philippines.
The President recognized that China has been “very good” to the country, saying he was not ashamed to request more assistance for the country to sustain economic growth.
China has reportedly invited the Philippine leader to attend a conference although Duterte did not say the date of his upcoming foreign visit.
“I like more investments for my place. I’ll go there to argue my case. You have exceedingly been very good to us, but I have to find another world because I want more, I am very poor,” Duterte said during a gathering of the Filipino-Chinese community at the Manila Hotel last Monday night.
“It’s the development, the progress on a high gear, kumbaga primera, segunda, naka-tercera na tayo [It’s like we’ve gone on first, second and third gears]. We have to go to the fourth gear for a cruising… So I need the help of China. Why should I be ashamed?” he added.
He said China has shown good will “not because they are afraid but because they want to maintain good relations with everybody — not only in the Philippines.” Apart from the weapons given by China to the Philippine military, Duterte cited that Beijing has also offered to build two bridges in the country for free.
The President made the remarks before the crowd that included former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua attending the 10th biennial national convention and 20th anniversary celebration of the Chinese Filipino Business Club, Inc. last Monday night.
Duterte’s last visit to China was in May 2017 when he met President Xi Jinping and attended the “One Belt, One Road” summit. He also had a state visit to China back in October 2016.
Meantime, the President has pushed for friendly relations with China instead of waging war over the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte however made clear that the country would continue to assert ownership of the West Philippine Sea and the Philippine Rise
“We can only be diplomatic. We can only be talking on friendly and civilized terms,” he said.
“I will not commit the lives of the Filipinos only to die unnecessarily. I will not go into a battle which I can never win,” he added.