The Philippines and China are looking to establish a “fast lane” that would allow easy entry of Filipinos and Chinese in both borders of the respective countries for citizens classified as “urgently needed for personnel exchanges” and are involved in industries “crucial” to both nations.
The plan was one of the things discussed between Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. as part of his official three-day visit in China.
The DFA said that the “fast lane” would “facilitate, with due safeguards, the movement of essential official exchanges and travel by personnel in crucial industries, such as business and trade, infrastructure, logistics, production, and technical services.”
The agency added that Locsin and Wang had a “candid and in-depth exchange on regional security concerns” including the Philippine-Chinese relations amid the pandemic.
There was no mention, however, if the meeting included a discussion on the West Philippine Sea (WPS), a maritime region declared by The Hague as under the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, but China continues to illegally claim as part of its territory.
Wang also affirmed that China will remain committed in supporting the Build, Build, Build program of the Duterte administration.
China-backed infrastructure projects, including the construction of the Sangley Airport involving China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. (CCCC), have been raising concerns from government officials emphasizing that the presence of Chinese companies involved in Beijing’s aggression in the WPS is a blow to the security and sovereignty of the Philippines.