China has never asked for anything, “even one square of real estate,” in exchange for its assistance to the country, President Rodrigo Duterte maintained Tuesday.
Duterte made this remark as he led the groundbreaking ceremony for the two bridges crossing Pasig River that the Chinese government will build for free.
“Personally I’ve been to China. I have talked to the leadership of the government and have had the honor of meeting President Xi (Jinping) and talked about a lot about friendships and cooperation,” Duterte said in his speech.
“I just like to tell everybody that in all of these discussions, China never asked for any, not even a one square of real estate in this country,” he added.
Duterte said he and the Chinese leader promised to deal with The Hague-Permanent Court Arbitration’s ruling, which nullified China’s nine-dash line claim in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
“We will discuss this at some other time, as China has to deal with individually bilateral relations and issues,” Duterte said.
“We will allow them the sufficient period to sort out things and I’m sure that in the end, China will be fair and the equity will be distributed,” he added.
For the meantime, Duterte said China and the Philippines will continue to talk about concerted efforts that would help both countries in achieving economic progress.
“But in the days to come, we would realize that China, after all, is really a good neighbor,” Duterte said.
In his speech, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said the groundbreaking ceremony of the two bridges will serve as a ‘fresh starting point’ for more projects and efforts to further boost the relations of the two countries.
Zhao also assured that the Philippines will not fall into ‘debt trap’ with China’s soft loans being offered for the implementation of Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program.
“Under the wise leadership of President Duterte and his economic management team headed by Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez, they are smart enough not to allow the Philippines to fall into the so-called debt trap,” Zhao said. PNA