The diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China was established on 9 June 1975.  Since then, the bilateral partnership between the two countries has reached unprecedented levels in terms of politico/security and regional cooperation, trade, investment, agriculture, tourism, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, which have benefited the two countries and peoples. As stakeholders in the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, the two countries have also cooperated closely in various regional and international issues that have profound effects to the stability and economic development of the region.  

Over the past 40 years, Philippines-China bilateral relations continue to strengthen. The relations are multi-faceted and involve the three branches of government – executive, legislative and judiciary, and the various sectors of society. Since 1975, the two countries have concluded almost 100 bilateral agreements that cover a wide spectrum – political, defense, trade and investments,  judicial cooperation, infrastructure development, energy cooperation, air services, cooperation in combating transnational crimes, consular cooperation, tourism, culture, sports, media exchange, agriculture, science and technology, sister cities, and people to people exchanges – reflecting the breadth and depth and the growing cooperation between the Philippines and China.

In April 2005, during the state visit of President Hu Jintao to the Philippines, he and then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo agreed to establish a strategic and cooperative relationship for peace and development between the Philippines and China. Since then, bilateral relations have been surging ahead in a comprehensive manner, with economic ties serving as the locomotive for cooperation. To underscore the importance of China to the Philippines, there are now seven Philippine foreign service posts in China – five in the mainland (Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xiamen and Chongqing) and two in the Special Administrative Regions (Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR).

On 29 October 2009, during the official visit to the Philippines of Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Yang Jiechi, the two countries signed the Joint Action Plan for Strategic Cooperation between the Philippines and China, an action-oriented roadmap that further deepened cooperation in all fields and provided strategic direction for long-term growth of Philippines-China relations for the benefit of the Filipino and Chinese peoples.  The Joint Action Plan was a five-year agreement that covered almost all areas of cooperation, from political, economic and trade, to cultural and people-to-people relations.

During the State Visit to China of President Benigno S. Aquino III from 30 August to 2 September 2011, the two governments issued a joint statement reiterating their commitment to jointly pursue a long-term and stable relationship of strategic cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit.   

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte undertook a State Visit to China on 18-21 October 2016.  During the visit, President Duterte met with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, National People's Congress Standing Committee Chair Zhang Dejiang, and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.  In the joint statement issued during this “milestone visit”, both sides acknowledged the centuries-old bonds of friendship of the Filipinos and Chinese people and agreed to continue to make concerted efforts to cement the traditional friendship between the two countries.  The Philippines and China also reaffirmed their partnership and their common aspiration to achieve development and inclusive growth for their peoples. (Please click here for the complete text of the Joint Statement issued on 21 October 2016.)

President Duterte visited China once again on 13-15 May 2017 to participate, along other 29 world leaders, in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) hosted by China. During his visit, he had separate bilateral meetings with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping. During these meetings, President Duterte renewed the Philippines’ commitment to pursue stronger ties with China and noted the steady deepening of the bilateral relations since he assumed office in 2016. The Chinese leaders, on the other hand, responded positively to President Duterte’s desire for more cooperation between the Philippines and China and expressed China’s willingness to support the Philippines’ various socio-economic and security programs, including the campaigns against illicit drugs, terrorism, poverty, and others.


President Ferdinand E. Marcos:   7 June 1975

President Corazon C. Aquino: 14 April 1988

President Fidel V. Ramos: 25 April 1993

President Joseph E. Estrada: 16 May 2000

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo:  29 October 2001;

       1-3 September 2004;  27 October-2 November 2006;

       21 April 2007; 5-6 June 2007; 1-2 October  2007; 30 March -1 April 2008,

       7-10 August 2008; 23-27 October 2008, 8-9 June 2010

President Benigno S. Aquino III, 30 August – 2 September 2011; 9-11 November 2014 (APEC Economic Leaders' Week)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, 18-21 October 2016, 13-15 May 2017 (Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation)


Premier Zhao Ziyang:6 August 1981

Premier Li Peng:13 December 1990

President Jiang Zemin:23 November 1996

Premier Zhu Rongji: 26 November 1999

President Hu Jintao: 26-28 April 2005

Premier Wen Jiabao: 15-16 January 2007

President Xi Jinping:   17-19 November 2015 (APEC Economic Leaders' Week)




1Q and 2Q of 2016p




(US$ billion)


(US$ billion)

Total Trade

(US$ billion)

Q1 1.26 3.13 4.42
Q2 1.45 3.97 5.42

2010 – 2015



(US$ billion)


(US$ billion)

Total Trade

(US$ billion)

2010 5.70 4.61 10.31
2011 6.24 6.09 12.32
2012 6.17 6.69 12.85
2013 7.03 8.07 15.10
2014 8.47 9.87 18.34
2015 6.39 10.83 17.23

Top 5 Philippine Exports to China in 2015

  1. Digital Monolithic integrated circuits
  2. Storage units
  3. Nickel ores and concentrates
  4. Electrical and electronic machinery, equipment and parts manufactured from materials on consignment basis
  5. Parts and accessories of machines

Top 5 Philippine Imports from China in 2015

  1. Materials, accessories and supplies imported on consignment basis for manufacture of semiconductor devices
  2. Photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells
  3. Parts of electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy
  4. Glazed ceramic mosaic cubes
  5. Parts and accessories of automatic data processing machines

Sources:  Philippine Statistics Authority and Department of Trade and Industry

Philippine Investments to China in 2015: US$ 39 million
Source:   Ministry of Commerce of China

Chinese Investments to the Philippines in 2015: US$ 23.27 million 
Source: Board of Investments of the Philippines

Official Development Assistance from China: US$1.27 billion (2002-2010)

Source: National Economic and Development Authority

Chinese Tourist Arrivals to the Philippines

1Q and 2Q 2016

Rank for 2016 2016 Rank for 2015 2015
1Q 3 184,512 4 158,325
2Q 3 156,446 4 97,282
Total 340,958 255,607

2008 – 2015

Year No. of Arrivals
2008 163,689
2009 155,019
2010 187,446
2011 243,137
2012 250,883
2013 426,352
2014 394,951
2015 490,840
Total 2,312,317

Source: Department of Tourism

Philippine Tourists to China for 2015: 1,004,000 tourists

Source: China National Tourism Administration

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