The relationship between Philippines and China refers to the bilateral relations, it gradually improved over the years since the initiative of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. But the relationship suffered due to the worsening South China Sea dispute. And now, the current administration under President Rodrigo Duterte aims at remedying the relationship between China at the expense of the former relationship with the United States.
Agreements between China-Philippines decades ago
Over the years, several major bilateral agreements were signed between these two countries such as Joint trade Agreement on 1975, Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement on 1999, Cultural Agreement on 1979, Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement on 1992, Agreement on Agricultural Cooperation on 1999, Tax Agreement on 1999 and Treaty on Mutual Judicial Assistance on Criminal Matters on 2000.
On their 25th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, these two countries signed a Joint Statement defining the framework of bilateral relations in the 21st century. On October 2011, during the state visit of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the growing bilateral relations were highlighted. Arroyo held bilateral talks with Chinese leaders, President Jian Zenim, NPC Chairman Li Peng and Premier Zhu Rongi. Arroyo also attended the 9th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting held in Shanghai on October 20-21, 2001 where she had another bilateral talk with president Jiang. Eight Bilateral agreements were also signed during her visit in China.
Philippines and China established diplomatic relations on June 9, 1975 with the signing of the Joint Communiqué by the leaders of the two countries. Since the diplomatic relations started, there has been frequent exchange of high-level visits between China and Philippines. the Philippines-China relations have attained a smooth development and remarkable achievements in all areas of bilateral cooperation over the 34 years.
Year 2000, the Philippines and China signed the Joint Statement between China and the Philippines on the framework of Bilateral Cooperation in the 21st century which confirmed that the two sides will establish a long-term and stable relationship in terms of good neighborliness, cooperation mutual trust and benefit.
Trade between the two countries
In year 2007, the Bilateral trade volume was 30.62 billion USD. And by year 2008, from January-October the bilateral volume reached 25.3 billion USD, an increase of 1.4 % compared with the same period last year.
In year 2000, government agencies signed an agreement whereby China offers the Philippines 100 million USD credit facility. And on March 2003, the China aid project the China-Philippines Agricultural Technology Center was then completed.
China’s hybrid rice and corn have been growing in the country. Both sides also signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Fisheries Cooperation, year 2004 while on January 2007, Chinese and Philippine Ministries of Agriculture signed Memorandum of Understanding on Broadening and Deepening Agriculture and Fisheries Cooperation.
Furthermore, the two countries also signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Constructing the Northern Luzon Railway Project on August 2003. Aside from this, they also signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of infrastructure between the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and the Department of Trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines.
China-Philippines Military Exchanges
The Chief of the General Staff of the Philippine Armed Forces (AFP), Narciso Abaya and Secretary of Defense Avelino Cruz paid visits to China respectively where both decided to established mechanism pf annual Defense and Security Consultation.
North china Sea also visited the Philippines on October, conducting a join non-traditional security exercise. And on May 20017, The deputy Chief of General Staff of PLA, Zhang Quinsheng visited the Philippines and both sides held the Defense and Security Consultation for the 3rd time. State Councilor, Chinese Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission and Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan paid visit to the Philippines as well in September.
These two countries have disputes over the sovereignty of some shoals and islands in the Spratly Islands. The Spratly’s issue has indeed always been a crucial one since it directly affect the state’s national interests on profit and security.
For many years, the tension have been high in the South China Sea, perhaps nothing spurred the Philippine case against China as much as Scarborough Shoal standoff. However, the Philippines claimed a number of Spratly islands since it is within the 200 NM distance from Palawan. On the other hand, China also claimed most of the Spratly Islands based on its historical background. Both countries deploy ships to take turns in guarding their claimed areas.
Thus, this action caused to increase tensions between the relationship of the two countries. Recently, Chinese ships were spotted in the Benham Plateau or also known as Benham Rise, an internationally recognized territory of the Philippines.