CHINA — China and the Philippines have signed a $300-billion deal to bolster maritime security and economic ties and help bolster regional peace and stability.
The deal, which will help Manila to maintain peace and security in the South China Sea, was signed by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhijun at a high-level meeting in Manila late Monday, according to the Philippine foreign ministry.
The Philippines and China have both claimed nearly the whole of the South Chinese Sea, through which $5 trillion in shipping and trade passes annually.
The two countries have been embroiled in a decades-long dispute over the islands and reefs in the contested sea, which they have said are theirs and China’s.
China has long been criticized by the United States and its allies for the militarization of its southern neighbor and has denied claims.
Liu, who is also the head of the Philippine National Police, is visiting China to discuss maritime security issues with the government of President Rodrigo Duterte.
China also is a major investor in the Philippines, with a total of $5.3 billion of deals worth more than $5 billion signed in the past decade, according the Philippine government.