PH, China to Respect Sovereignty

Manila Bulletin, November 27, 2018 | Go to article overview

PH, China to Respect Sovereignty


By Genalyn Kabiling

The Philippines and China have agreed to respect national laws as well as territorial integrity and sovereignty under a recent four-year cooperation deal on Beijing's vast trade and infrastructure program.

The "cooperation principles" were listed in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative between the two countries released by the Malacanang Monday.

The MOU on the Belt and Road cooperation plan was among the 29 deals forged by the Philippines and China during the historic visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Manila last week.

"The Participants shall work together within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, with the strictest respect for national laws, rules, regulations and policies so as to realize sustainable growth and development through the Belt and Road Initiative and translate economic complementarities and people-to-people exchanges into advantages for practical cooperation and the sound sustainable development of all counties involved," it read.

The two parties would also be guided by the principles of "mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, and complete transparency inter common endeavors to expand mutually beneficially cooperation so as to realize sustainable development and common prosperity through extensive consultation, joint contribution, and the sharing of benefits."

Under the MOU on the Belt and Road cooperation plan, the two countries:

* Would cooperate on infrastructure development and connectivity in areas of mutual interest, such as transportation, telecommunication, and energy sectors.

* Would enhance communication and exchanges to improve trade flows, investment environments, and adhere to customs rules, regulations and control to facilitate lawful trade.

* Recognized China's "remarkable economic progress and development even further by offering to assist in the development of other countries to help build stronger economies and, therefore, more and richer markets for commercial and culture exchanges along the ancient Silk Route.

* Acknowledged that "the most sustainable growth of a country should not be at the expense of another, and that national progress is not zero-sum game." "Sustainable progress requires an understanding that only in a common prosperity lies the sustainable growth and property of great nations," the MOU read.

* Agree to expand the use of local currencies in bilateral trade and investment and provide financial support for such purpose. "The Participants will establish a cooperation mechanism to deal with financial risk and crisis; and increase exchange and cooperation between credit investigation regulates and interbank institutional investors."

* Would also promote people-to-people exchanges, cultural cooperation, education, travel, and encourage stronger communication between their people.

The modes of cooperation include high-level visits, exchanges and dialogues among stakeholders; pilot programs, research and development, capacity building, and training in key areas; and investment and financial support for programs and programs.

Amicable settlement

The MOU also called for an amicable settlement through diplomatic consultations in case of any difference arising from the implementation of the pact.

The memorandum, however, "does not create legally binding obligations for the two parties. "It is an expression of their common aspiration to cooperate on the Belt and Road Initiative for their mutual benefit," the MOU read.

The MOU will remain in effect for the next four years unless a participant notifies to terminate such agreement three months before the expiration date. It may be renewed for a subsequent four-year period.

Oil, gas exploration

In another deal, Malacanang finally made public the "Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development between the Philippines and China" amid calls for transparency. …

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