The Chinese president’s arrival was hailed as a “landmark moment” in the two country’s shared history by his counterpart Rodrigo Duterte, but many officials in Manila are wary of trade deals that could jeopardize the Philippines’ sovereignty, the Financial Times reports.
Xi’s visit, the first time a Chinese leader has visited the Philippines in 13 years, kicked off with the signing of a deal to mine offshore oil deposits located between the two countries.
“We have turned a new page and we are ready to write a new chapter of openness and co-operation,” said Duterte.
The oil and gas deal has been widely condemned by opposition policymakers, who claim any such arrangement with China would violate the nation’s constitution.
“It is preposterous and treacherous,” said one senator. “It reverses our historic victory at The Hague and signs away Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.”