MANILA, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — The year 2019 set the strategic course for the steady growth of the relations between China and the Philippines, the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said on Wednesday.
"The year 2019 witnessed the sustained betterment and growth of China-Philippines relations," Huang said in a speech at the reception to celebrate the Chinese lunar new year.
He said China is now the Philippines’ top trading partner, the second-largest source of tourists and one of the largest investors.
Last year more than 1.5 million Chinese nationals visited the Philippines, the Chinese ambassador said.
"We have been actively synergizing (China’s) Belt and Road Initiative and the ‘Build, Build, Build’ Plan (of the Philippines) and supporting the development of the Philippines. I am sure as more and more Chinese projects are launched and completed, they will bring more tangible benefits to the Philippine people."
According to Huang, important bilateral mechanisms including the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM) "are working well."
The consultation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea with the Philippines which serves as the country coordinator of China-ASEAN dialogue relations, has been steadily moving forward, contributing to the peace and stability of the region and beyond, he added.
For the first time in history, a China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel is paying a port call in the Philippines,conveying the message of friendship, cooperation and goodwill, the Chinese ambassador said.
A CCG ship, coded 5204, arrived in Manila on Tuesday for a four-day port call aimed at enhancing maritime cooperation between the two neighboring countries.
All the progress could not be achieved without the support and contribution made by the Philippine friends and the Chinese community in the Philippines, Huang said.
"Let’s seize the day and live it to the full to work for the greater development of both countries as well as the sustained growth of our bilateral ties," he concluded.