• Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng

Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng (Photo : Getty Images)

China will invest in 30 projects worth $3.7 billion for poverty alleviation in the Philippines.

This was announced by Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng after a meeting with visiting Philippine delegation of ministers amid improved bilateral ties.

The Philippine team, which includes finance, economic, public works, transport, and budget secretaries, arrived in Beijing Sunday night for a two-day visit.

Like Us on Facebook

“We had a very productive meeting with Gao. We discussed large projects in the Philippines’ rural areas, as well as some small projects,” said Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Domingues, head of the delegation.

During the meeting, both countries also agreed to rekindle the China-Philippines Joint Committee of Economics and Trade, which has been suspended since 2011.

China-Philippines’ relationship was severely affected by the South China Sea island disputes during the past Philippine administration.

Last October, Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte visited China where both countries agreed to downplay sea tensions and signed a batch of investment and trade agreements.

During the visit, Chinese officials pledged $15 billion of investment to the Philippines, the $3.7 billion was just the "initial batch" of projects that still needs to be finalized.

Some paperworks are also needed to be processed by the banks involved.

“Duterte is not a traditional Filipino politician, because he has no base in Manila and those pro-U.S. traditional political, media, and economic elites. His support is from the grassroots and undeveloped rural areas,” said Chu Yin.

Yin is an associate professor at the University of International Relations.

However, Yin added that in order to secure long-term support under pressure from U.S. criticism and traditional elites of the anti-drug campaign, President Duterte needs to deliver infrastructure development and economic benefits to the people.

The Philippine delegation will meet Vice Premier Wang Yang at Zhongnanhai, the Beijing complex that houses China’s central government, next week.

The topic of discussion is the Philippines’ chairmanship of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year.