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Philippines'' Arroyo describes China''s BRI as broadest platform for collaboration

2019-08-15 14:13:03 Xinhua

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo described on Friday the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as China''s broadest platform for collaboration and cooperation.

MANILA, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo described on Friday the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as "China's broadest platform for collaboration and cooperation", saying that the Philippines is gaining benefits from the trade and infrastructure cooperation with China.

"Infrastructure is an obvious area that can benefit from the economic cooperation that the BRI embodies," Arroyo told on the Belt and Road China-Philippines Forum on people-to-people exchange and economic cooperation held in Manila.

She lauded China-proposed BRI, saying the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road "fits very nicely" with the Philippines' ongoing "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure project.

The "Build, Build, Build" program, rolled out by the Philippine government in 2017, intends to spend 8 to 9 trillion pesos (roughly 160 to 180 billion U.S. dollars) in the medium-term on building roads, bridges, airports, seaports and railways in the Philippines.

Accelerating infrastructure is one of the Philippine government's policies agenda to usher in the country's "Golden Age of Infrastructure" through the program.

Tan Qingsheng, the deputy chief of mission and minister counselor at the Chinese embassy in the Philippines, told the forum that the BRI is a "pie for everyone to share, not a pitfall that hinders development."

The BRI, proposed by China in 2013, aims at enhancing all-around connectivity through infrastructure construction, exploring new driving force for the world economic growth, and building a new platform for world economic cooperation.

"The BRI promotes open and inclusive economic cooperation," he said, adding it is a "peaceful development platform" and "not a geopolitical tool" directed against any country.

"China initiated the very idea, but the BRI as a platform is owned and equally participated by all participating countries," he said, adding that the initiative is guided by "consultation and cooperation for shared benefits."

So far, some 126 countries, including the Philippines, and 29 international organizations have signed cooperation documents on BRI with China.