Chinese President Xi Jinping Made Historic Visit to the Philippines
From 20 to 25 minutes, my trip to work took over 45 minutes, The traffic was even heavier than previous days. Many commuters were waiting in long lines on a rainy day. At first I thought it must be because of the holiday rush. But it wasn’t. There must be an important personality that visited the country. And this time, it’s no other than the Chinese President Xi Jinping.
How was the Reception
It was the first in 13 years that the country was visited by a Chinese President. President Xi Jinping stayed for 2 days. The reception, however, was mixed.
For security purposes, many roads were closed and re-routed. It caused delays in public transport and congestion at public roads. It was a struggle to the working Filipinos.
On the other hand, the government made a red carpet welcome to the Chinese president. His accommodation was at a 5-star hotel but cops were stationed outside to secure the place.The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte held a banquet for the delegates.
However, despite the warmer relations between China and the Philippines, many groups and individuals are skeptical. Some are frustrated over the government’s stance on the military Chinese build up on the disputed islands and Duterte’s style in handling the South China Sea issue hence, groups from various sectors staged protests during Xi’s 2-day visit.
What was Accomplished During the Visit
Upon arrival, the Chinese president stated that Friendship is the “only right choice” between the Philippines and China.
The two countries signed 29 deals during President Xi’s visit. The highlight is the agreement on the joint exploration of gas and oil. However, the Department of Energy Secretary said the memorandum was just a “memorandum of cooperation to explore solutions”. But a number of people are dismayed while others showed reservation on the said agreement. It can be recalled that the South China Sea, especially the West Philippine Sea was almost mainly occupied by China but the The Hague Arbitration invalidated it, favoring the Philippines’ claims in the area.
Around 100 deals have been signed during the Duterte administration to date.
In the meantime, the issue on the territorial disputes are still left unresolved.
The Philippines has been a traditional US ally for decades but recently, the relationship between China and the Philippines have been warming up. Philippine President Duterte have visited three times in China in the course of his administration so far. And now, a historic visit just happened. Many agree on the Duterte’s style in dealing with China, saying that he is a good statesman and a strategist.
On the other hand, many Filipinos remain skeptical, or even negative , on the dealings with China. Social media was flooded by opposing comments. Others even went as far as saying that the Philippines has been being sold.
One question comes to mind,” Who will benefit more in the agreement?’
With the recent developments in the country’s infrastructure and development, there are solid proofs that the government is doing something despite the skepticism. What’s sad is that the government has too many critics in its own backyard. Opposition parties don’t fail in pointing out the current administration’s shortcomings. Balancing the good and bad is surely good, but nothing is gained without a sacrifice either.
There is no such perfect government. But politics should be set aside for a better cause. What the government needs is support and understanding. Besides, the president only has 6 years and that’s not long enough to accomplish everything. The leaders may have promised more than they can handle, but no matter how good the intentions and how many the plans are, if there is no money to put it into action, how good would the plan be? Debt or not, physical structures and changes are slowly happening. Another real issue is the sustainability of these changes. How long would it last? What would the next regime do to them? If only vested interests are put aside, it could have been easier to accomplish something. No leader succeeds without the support and effort of the rest of the team. Just what John F Kennedy said, ” Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country”.
Let’s discuss with aimtalk teachers (request with this article link)
- What’s your impression about China? What can you say about their relationship with the neighboring countries?
- Why do you think many people have reservations in dealing with China?
- How’s Japan and China’s relationship? How do you think Japan government should deal with China?
(traffic) congestion(n): the problem of too much traffic in a place
banquet(n): formal dinner for many people on an important occasion
delegate(n): a person authorized as representative
memorandum(n): a short legal document that contains the important details of an agreement
dismayed(adj): worried, disappointed, and upset
so far: until now
set A aside: keep A for a special purpose
for a better course: for a better effect ※ for a good course: a socially useful organization or activity that is not managed for profit
put it into action[/effect/practice]: start using A (a plan, idea, knowledge etc)
vested interests: the groups of people who will gain from a plan, project, proposal etc.