Philippines. Beijing will build a railway between two former US military bases

The Philippines and China signed an agreement for a $ 940 million freight railway project to connect two former US military bases in the Philippines.

The announcement was issued by the Chinese embassy in Manila, he said Nikki. The railway is the largest project funded by the Chinese government in the Philippines to date and highlights the growing role of Beijing as a financier of infrastructure in Manila under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Our cooperation continues! China and the Philippines have just signed a commercial contract for the Subic-Clark Railway Project. The social networking site Facebook Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Shilian. Huang’s announcement came during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to the Philippines, the last leg of a tour to Southeast Asia that also included Myanmar, Indonesia and Brunei.

Wang’s diplomatic pledges, which focused on pledges to finance infrastructure and donations of the Coronavirus vaccine, came before the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden next week.

Philippine government officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the signing of the contract. The Chinese ambassador said it would take 42 months to build a 71 km single-lane freight railway. “Once completed, the railway will build strong links between commercial areas along the Subic-Clark Corridor,” Huang added.

Subic was the home of a logistics base for the United States Navy’s 7th Fleet; Clark was a base for the United States Air Force. Both have been converted into economic zones and free zones. Official statements from the Ministry of Finance and Foreign Affairs in Manila did not specifically mention the signing of the contract for the rail project. The Finance Ministry said that the two countries “signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement that grants Manila 500 million yuan to support the implementation of infrastructure projects and other development initiatives by the Duterte administration.”

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According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang said China plans to donate 500,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine to the Philippines, in line with President Xi Jinping’s pledge to Duterte. The Philippines previously obtained 25 million doses of CoronaVac from the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech.

“Foreign Minister Wang reiterated China’s commitment, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, to work closely with the Philippines to support the positive course of valuable and special bilateral relations,” said a statement issued by Duterte’s office.

Graziella Giangiulio

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