Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua makes official visit to PH

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua is in the Philippines for an official visit from October 22 to October 24, making him the latest high-level Chinese official to visit Manila under the Duterte administration.

During his official visit, Hu is scheduled to meet President Rodrigo Duterte and hold discussions with the Philippines' economic managers to "fast-track the implementation of the key infrastructure projects under Chinese financing," the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement Wednesday, October 23.

The DFA Hu was welcomed by Foreign Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin, Jr, DFA Asian and Pacific Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre, and Finance undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven at around 3:30 pm on Tuesday, October 22.

A brief meeting was held afterwards.

Philippines-China ties have seen a "full turnaround" under the Duterte administration, with China becoming one of the country's largest source of foreign investments and aid. As much as $398 million in grants and $273 million in soft loans were given by China as of 2018.

Warming ties between Manila and Beijing under the Duterte administration have seen China become the Philippines top trading partner, its largest source of both imports and exports, and its second largest source of tourists.

The DFA said Hu's visit will also include discussions on trade, investment, tourism, and agriculture.

In China, Hu is in charge of matters concerning agriculture, water resources, commerce, and tourism. His visit to the Philippines comes after his attendance to the 3rd China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum in Samoa from October 20 to 21.

Prior to Hu's visit, a series of high-level Chinese officials including Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang embarked on official visits to the Philippines. This culminated in Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the Philippines in November 2018 – the first state visit of a Chinese president in 13 years. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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