View China’s rise as opportunity, not threat, Arroyo tells Pinoys

4 years ago 0 Comments
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo speaks at Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference in Hainan, China. Handout

MANILA – Filipinos should see China's economic rise as an opportunity instead of a threat, former president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Friday.

The Philippines should develop its ties with Asia's largest economy since Manila would also benefit from Beijing's progress, Arroyo explained.

"…China’s effort in opening up has really been a boost for the economies of the world, especially the developing economies. The world should look at China’s rise as an opportunity rather than a threat,” she said, following her attendance at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference in Hainan, China.

Arroyo's remarks came amid concerns over the Philippines' loans from China due to the two nations’ long-standing dispute in the South China Sea, a vital sea lane believed to be holding huge untapped natural gas and oil reserves.

Earlier, Associate Justice Antonio Carpio warned that Beijing could seize oil and gas-rich Philippine assets in the South China Sea if the country reneged on payment for the $62-million loan for the Chico River irrigation project.

He said the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project also carried the same terms where patrimonial assets were made collateral. 

It was during Arroyo's time as president that the Philippines took a $400-million loan from China in 2004 for the North Rail project, which was supposed to rehabilitate the old Philippine National Railway's (PNR) north line from Caloocan City to Clark in Pampanga. 

She later cancelled the project amid allegations her aides took kickbacks to get it started.

Describing China as a "partner in development," Arroyo said the Philippines has benefited in terms of trade and infrastructure assistance from Beijing's economic development.

"China, for us in the developing countries, is a market, a donor and a provider of capital and technology,” Arroyo said, noting that China has been a "very big market" for the Philippines.

“For instance, China has built bridges in the Philippines, it is building a dam for a water system and irrigation, and it will be building a major railroad. Not just one but two major railroads. So those are some of the ways by which China has benefited the Philippines,” she added. 

Arroyo said supporting China would result in a "win-win solution for the developing world" since China is also investing more in the Philippines.

"The Philippines actually has been investing in China for quite some time now because we have a very big Filipino-Chinese community, so I’m sure they can invest further in China. At the same time, China is also now investing more and more in the Philippines. So this must be a win-win solution for the developing world," she added.

It can be recalled that during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Manila last year, Arroyo also expressed support for joint projects between the Philippines and China, saying Beijing could act as a "senior uncle."

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