Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA2174 2005-05-12 23:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002174
STATE FOR EAP/PMBS
NSC FOR GREEN
OSD/ISA FOR ALLEN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/13/2015
TAGS: PREL PINR EPET ECON CH RP
SUBJECT: MORE ON HU JINTAO’S VISIT TO THE PHILIPPINES
REF: A. STATE 81733
¶B. MANILA 1987
¶C. MANILA 1257
Classified By: (U) Political Officer Paul O’Friel
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).
¶1. (C) SUMMARY. According to the Department of Foreign
Affairs, PRC President Hu Jintao’s state visit was a “normal”
component of Beijing’s outreach to the region. Visits by the
PRC Vice Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff of the
People’s Liberation Army are on the agenda as part of the
warming ties between the two countries. Cooperation on
seismic exploration in the South China Sea continues.
Foreign Secretary Romulo’s meetings in Washington May 16-17
will offer a timely opportunity for further discussion of
Philippine perceptions of China’s evolving role in the
region. END SUMMARY.
NORMALIZING PERCEPTIONS OF CHINA
¶2. (C) According to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
China Director Maria Theresa Almojuela, the GRP was
“extremely satisfied” with the results of the April 26-28
state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao, which had done
much to “normalize” popular Filipino perceptions of China.
The business-suit clad Hu, she observed, had a “reassuring”
appearance, and did not fit the “stereotypical” view
Filipinos still had of the mainland Chinese. “He reassured
people that China is not a threat,” she claimed.
¶3. (C) Without prompting, Almojuela assured poloff that the
Philippines had no intention of playing a “China card” in its
relations with either the United States or Japan. The
warming ties with China were a “natural and normal” part of
Beijing’s outreach to the region, and meshed closely with the
GRP’s own broad development agenda. Pointing to China’s
decision to open a consulate in the northern Luzon town of
Loaog, Almojuela noted that efforts to develop trade links
between that region and China had been underway since 2001.
A Hong Kong-based conglomerate had made a major investment in
a hotel and casino, and regular (charter) flights connected
Loaog with six cities on the mainland. Almojuela expressed
doubt that the warming economic and trade ties with the PRC
would impact sizable Taiwanese investment in the Philippines,
since Taiwanese investments were “profit driven,” independent
of political considerations.
¶4. (C) Part of Manila’s warming relations with the PRC will
include upcoming visits by the PRC Vice Minister of Defense
as well as the Chief of Staff of the People’s Liberation
Army, Almojuela said. She declined to provide further
details on the trips, beyond clarifying that the Vice Defense
Minister would visit “sometime this summer.”
¶5. (SBU) Cooperation on the tripartite (China-the
Philippines-Vietnam) seismic exploration was still underway,
Almojuela confirmed. She noted the Chinese National Offshore
Oil Company had agreed to discuss with the Philippine
National Oil Company the exploration of a petroleum block in
the Calamian Area in Philippine national waters northwest of
Palawan Island. Almojuela speculated that international
energy giant Shell, which operates the Malampaya natural gas
facility, might have a role in developing the Calamian block.
¶6. (C) As noted in ref C, President Hu’s charm offensive in
Manila does not appear significantly different from that in
other ASEAN capitals. Better and broader bilateral ties
advance regional interests, as other ASEAN members have also
discovered. However, the conservative Philippine defense
establishment — whose doctrine, equipment, and training are
all US-based — will be cautious so as not to jeopardize its
close relationship with the United States military,
especially as it undertakes (with US help) fundamental
restructuring and continues to combat multiple terrorist
threats. Foreign Secretary Romulo’s upcoming visit to
Washington offers a timely opportunity further to discuss the
evolving PRC role in Asia and Philippine perceptions of
long-term Chinese goals.
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