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16 deals sweeten PH-China pot


BEIJING ARRIVAL President Duterte is welcomed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua (right) on his arrival in Beijing. —MALACAÑANG PHOTO
BEIJING ARRIVAL President Duterte is welcomed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua (right) on his arrival in Beijing. —MALACAÑANG PHOTO

The Philippines and China will sign at least eight government-to-government deals on Thursday.

The deals do not include joint exploration for energy resources in the South China Sea.

Mr. Duterte said on Wednesday there were no discussions between Philippine and Chinese officials about joint exploration for oil and natural gas in the heavily contested waterway.

READ: PH to agree on joint oil exploration with China in disputed sea

He said joint exploration with China in those waters needed approval by Congress.

Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin warned the government against entering into such an agreement with China, pointing out that it might compromise the Philippines’ interests in the South China Sea.

It is not clear whether a fisheries agreement allowing Filipino fishermen access to Scarborough Shoal, or Panatag Shoal, is among those to be signed during Mr. Duterte’s four-day state visit to China, which began on Tuesday.

The government-to-government deals, to be signed at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, include cooperation in the fight against crime, which will boost Mr. Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

On Friday, Filipino and Chinese businessmen will sign eight agreements covering rail and land transportation, industrial zones, ICT development, infrastructure, tourism, energy and telecommunications.

The deals include one between Huawei and Globe Telecom and another between Alcatel Lucent Shanghai Bell Co. Ltd. and Globe that will add speed to the Philippines’ slow internet service.

Another deal is for the construction of a railway that will connect Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales province to Clark Freeport in Pampanga province for the benefit of business and industry locators at both special economic zones.

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