China pledges continued assistance to Philippines

Duterte said that the military assistance is one of the defense cooperation matters he discussed with Chinese President Xi Jin Ping in his visit to China in October past year.The U.S. Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine, 3rd Marine Division are training Philippine troops to improve urban warfare capabilities, such as clearing rooms and buildings, based on feedback from Philippine forces fighting in Marawi.Government troops have been fighting with the local terrorist group Maute and some foreign fighters in Marawi who want to establish a caliphate in the predominantly Islamic city.Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo rallies behind President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao – and urges Filipinos to do the same.If the 17 bodies discovered Wednesday in Marawi turn out to be those of villagers killed in the conflict, it would bring the number of civilian deaths to 44 and the overall death toll to more than 400.Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, Zhao Jianhua, told journalists in Manila, that China and Philippines have entered, a “global period of fast development”. The Chinese government had earlier donated P15 million to the rehabilitation of Marawi.The Philippines and China have signed a total of 22 economic agreements in the last six months, which is expected to help the Southeast Asian country become the latter’s largest trading partner of this year.”Likewise, join me in a prayer for President Rodrigo Duterte and all government officials”, he said.China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.Cayetano said after the talks that the two sides would increase cooperation in tourism, investment, infrastructure and technology, as well as in Duterte’s battle against illegal drugs.”So (I said), ‘I would need more arms.’ And true enough to his word, President Xi Jinping and China, and with the assurance of His Excellency the Ambassador, assured me that the arms would be coming shortly”.Mr. Duterte said the Maute terror group has “no objective, no ideology, not even relating to any supernatural or to God or at least to the fellow human beings but their main task is just to destroy and kill and we are in a very risky situation”.”Sometimes we can see that the equipment owned by the Philippine military is less advanced compared to the terrorists, and this has restrained [its] counter-terrorism capability”, he said, adding that China should be able to help with the problem.