A university professor here has cited the diplomatic skills of President Rodrigo R. Duterte as ideal qualities to help improve mutual understanding among countries.
Zhong Feiteng, a professor of the National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, specifically pointed to President Duterte’s three recent pronouncements that he said were good starting points for improved bilateral relations between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China.
Zhong, speaking at the ongoing 2018 Seminar for Information Officers and Journalists from the Philippines at the Xijiao Hotel here Friday, said one of these statements pertains to Duterte’s apology to the people of Hong Kong about the Manila hostage-taking incident eight years ago.
Speaking before the Filipino community in Hong Kong last April 12, Duterte said: “From the bottom of my heart as the president of the Republic of the Philippines and in behalf of the people of the Philippines, may I apologize formally to you now.”
Zhong quoted Duterte’s statement during the Boao Forum in Hainan, China, saying: “Bilaterally, the Philippines is showing how complex relations are not a bar to a positive and mutually beneficial engagement.”
During a press briefing before he left the country to attend the Boao Forum, the Chinese academic also quoted Duterte as saying: “I just simply love (Chinese President) Xi Jinping. He understands my problem and is willing to help. I would like to say, ‘Thank you, China.”
Zhong said these statements provide the mood for positive engagement, especially that the Chinese people (culturally) have longer memory of the past.
Zhong said the renewed China-Philippines bilateral relations resulted in “positive turnaround and momentum and the improvement of people to people cooperation.”
He cited the joint statements in October 2016 and November 2017 when both sides agreed, among others, to work together to pursue the sound and stable development of the strategic and cooperative relationship for peace and development; to jointly undertake practical cooperation including infrastructure investment, infrastructure project construction and industrial production capacity.
He also cited agreements that will improve people to people cooperation in the aspects of education, culture exchange, tourism, health, sports and communications.
Zhong was one of the lecturers in the ongoing seminar, which aims to enhance traditional friendship and cooperation between China and other developing countries like the Philippines. The two-week seminar is sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China. (By Lilian Mellejor, Philippine News Agency)