IN NUMBERS: Philippines-China relations

Elizabeth Ruth Deyro

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IN NUMBERS: Philippines-China relations
(UPDATED) Although the two countries have been locked in territorial tug-of-war issues, they have maintained ties. Here's a quick overview of their relationship – as told in latest available figures.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – In 2002, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation No. 148, which officially declared June 9 as Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day.

This serves as a commemoration of the strong alliance between the two nations and their diplomatic relations established on June 9, 1975, when Chinese Premier Chou En-lai and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos signed the Joint Communique that forged “mutual recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level” between the two countries.

Arroyo’s proclamation states: “It is thus fitting to designate one day in the year as Philippine-China Friendship Day to celebrate all that both countries enjoy and cherish together especially in the fields of socio-cultural, economic, and educational cooperation.”

Although the two countries have been locked in territorial tug-of-war issues, they have maintained relations in the areas of trade and tourism.

President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, said that he is looking forward to strengthening ties between the Philippines and China as he is set to visit the Asian giant from October 18 to 21.

Here’s a quick overview of the relationship of the Philippines and China – as told in latest available figures:


28,750 Estimated Chinese living in the Philippines as of 2010
29,691 Estimated number of permanent, temporary, and irregular overseas Filipinos in China as of 2013


1975 Year when diplomatic bilateral relations between the Philippines and China were established
2009 Signing of Joint Action Plan for Strategic Cooperation
7 Number of Philippine foreign service posts in China
24 Pairs of “sister cities” or “sister provinces” between China and the Philippines
7 Number of Philippine foreign service posts in China 
– Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xiamen, Hong Kong, and Macau)


1978 Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement signed
1979 Cultural Cooperation Agreement, Civil Aviation and Transportation Agreement signed
2001 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Sports Cooperation, Cooperation in Information Industry, Cooperation in the Crackdown on Transnational Crimes, Treaty on Extradition, Pact on Cooperation Against Illicit Traffic and Abuse of Narcotic Drugs signed
2002 MOU on Tourism Cooperation signed
2005 MOU on Maritime Cooperation, Pact on Cooperation in Youth Affairs signed
2007 MOU on Cooperation in Sanitary and Phytosanitary Cooperation, Education Cooperation, Pact on Protection of Cultural Heritage signed
2008 Pact on Sanitary Cooperation signed


490,841 Estimated number of Chinese visitors to the Philippines in 2015
1.004 million Estimated number of Filipino visitors to China in 2015


1975 President Ferdinand Marcos visited China
1981 Premier Zhao Ziyang visited the Philippines
1988 President Corazon Aquino visited China
1990 Premier Li Peng visited the Philippines
1993 President Fidel Ramos visited China
1996 President Jiang Zemin visited the Philippines
1999 Premier Zhu Rongji visited the Philippines
2000 President Joseph Estrada visited China
2001 President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo first visited China
2005 President Hu Jintao visited the Philippines
2007 Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Philippines
2011 President Benigno Aquino III visited China


$1.272 billion Development assistance to the Philippines from China from 2002 until 2013
$17.646 billion Bilateral trade between China and the Philippines in 2015
$6.175 billion Philippine exports to China in 2015
$11.471 billion Philippine imports from China in 2015 
$1.455 billion Chinese investments in the Philippines in 2015


2012 Year when the Chinese New Year was first proclaimed as a special non-working holiday in the Philippines, as per Proclamation No. 295

– Updated by Jodesz Gavilan and Michael Bueza/

Sources: Philippines-China Relations: Beyond the Territorial Disputes, Official Gazette, Philippine Statistics AuthorityEmbassy of the Republic of the Philippines in ChinaEmbassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Philippines

Elizabeth Ruth Deyro is a Rappler intern.

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