Romulo: China an engine of growth and integration in Asia-Pacific
2005/03/03

BEIJING, March 2 (Xinhuanet) -- Visiting Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto Romulo said here Wednesday that China has become an engine of growth and integration in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Addressing the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies (IAPS) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Romulo said that with its economy averaging 9 percent annual growth and the movement towards market liberalization it bagan in 1979, China has softened the impact on the region of numerous external shocks such as fluctuating global markets and the financial crisis of the late 1990s.

    "We in the Philippines welcome China's increasing role in regional and international affairs," said Romulo.

    "The ties of friendship between our peoples predate, by many centuries, the founding of our two republics and the formal establishment of our diplomatic relations," he said.

    "Because of our proximity, and China being the oldest continuous civilization on earth -- the Middle Kingdom -- it has been natural that Chinese influence in various spheres of our social and political life as a people has been deep," he said.

    Romulo said since the two countries established formal diplomatic relations nearly 30 years ago, "I have seen the transformation of our relationship -- from peaceful co-existence to the vibrant phase of cooperation and mutual confidence we enjoy today."

    He sais the Philippines considers "the Taiwan issue" an internal matter for China and appreciates the Chinese government'spatient efforts to pursue peaceful reunification.

    The 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea region, is the "framework of trust and confidence, of dialogue and operation, of peaceable options for the South China Sea," Romulo said.

    He said the Philippines and China are part of a "group of developing countries that seek an equitable global economic order."

    Romulo was here for an official visit to China from Feb. 28 to March 2 at the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

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