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 political/security and regional cooperation, trade, investment, agriculture, tourism, as well as 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. 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. 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 on 30 August - 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 and 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 between 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, among others.
Upon the invitation of President Duterte, H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, paid an Official Visit to the Philippines from 15-16 November 2017. During the visit, Premier Li exchanged views on Philippines-China relations, as well as regional and international issues, through a bilateral meeting with President Duterte and meetings with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker of the House Pantaleon D. Alvarez.
During Premier Li’s visit, fourteen (14) government-to-government Agreements, Exchange of Letters and MOUs were signed.
On 08-11 April 2018, President Duterte joined eight (8) other world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as heads of international organizations, at the Opening Ceremony of the 1028 Bo’ao Forum for Asia Annual Conference in Bo’ao, Hainan Province. The theme of the forum was “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity.”
In his remarks at the Opening Ceremony, President Duterte said that the Philippines and China are partners in infrastructure upgrades, in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, and the war on criminality and the illegal drug trade.
Pointing out that the Philippines’ destiny is in Asia, the President affirmed the Philippine’s commitment to regional integration and interconnectivity, both in functional cooperation as well as in political engagement.
The President also witnessed the signing of ten (10) Letters of Intent (LOIs) between Philippine and Chinese companies. Exchange of Letters and MOUs were also signed.
On 20-21 November 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping undertook a State Visit to the Philippines upon the invitation of President Duterte. During their meeting, the two leaders discussed how to further enhance economic and functional cooperation in key areas, such as bilateral trade and two-way investments promotion. Enhancing tourism, agriculture, education, science and technology and cultural exchanges were also discussed. President Duterte and President Xi witnessed the signing of twenty-nine (29) government-to-government agreements.
President Duterte attended the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on 25-27 April 2019. The theme of the forum was “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future.” The President met with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang during his visit.
In the bilateral meeting between President Duterte and President Xi, the two leaders reaffirmed their friendship and commitment to a stronger development partnership. After the meetings, the two leaders witnessed the signing and exchange of agreements between the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Handover Certificate Grant-Aid for the Dangerous Drugs Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers Project between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
President Duterte paid an Official Visit to China on 28-20 August 2019. During the President’s meeting with President Xi Jinping, the two leaders renewed their commitment to further enhance the comprehensive strategic cooperation between the Philippines and China. President Duterte also met with Premier Li Keqiang and reiterated the Philippine’s strong resolve to further expand economic ties and people-to-people exchanges with China.
Six (6) cooperation agreements in the areas of education, science and technology, finance and customs were signed during the President’s official visit.
The President also met with Chinese and Filipino investors during the Philippines-China Business Forum organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The President likewise attended the opening ceremony of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. After the FIBA opening rites, the President proceeded to Guangdong Province to support the Gilas Philippine Team during their match against Italy. He was welcomed by Vice President Wang Qishan and other top political leaders of the province.
VISITS TO CHINA BY PHILIPPINE PRESIDENTS:
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,
State Visit,18-21 October 2016
Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, 13-15 May 2017
Bo’ao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, 08-11 April 2018
2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, 25-27 April 2019
Official Visit, 28-30 August 2019
VISITS TO THE PHILIPPINES BY CHINESE PRESIDENTS/ PREMIERS:
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)
Premier Li Keqiang: 15-16 November 2017
President Xi Jinping: 20-21 November 2018