Last April 14-17 2016, Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, Inc. supported the University of the Philippines Asian Center in hosting a delegation from the China Institutes for Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) – one of China’s most infuential think tanks in the field of Chinese foreign relations. The party was led by Professor Ji Zhiye, President of CICIR, and included four other analysts – Professors Li Li, Song Qingrun, Zhang Xuegang and Nie Huihui – all focusing on Southeast Asia and Oceania Studies. The goal of the delegation was to build deeper understanding of the Philippines and to foster cooperation through academic exchanges involving the two institutions.
UP President Alfredo E Pascual together with CICIR President Ji Zhiye, the CICIR delegates, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan and UP professors during the welcome dinner.
UP President Alfredo E. Pascual welcomed the delegates by hosting a dinner at the Executive House of the university. The dinner was also attended by professors and lecturers of the university including UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, Asian Center Dean Joefe Santarita, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute-UP Diliman Dr. Jimmy Jianping Wu, UP – Center for Integrative and Development Studies Director, Dr. Edna Estifania A. Co, Dean of UP School of Economics Dr. Orville Jose. C. Solon, Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea Director and College of Law Professor Atty. Jay Batongbacal, UP School of Economics Professorial Lecturer Dr. Calla Wiemer, and Asian Center Professors Dr. Aileen Baviera, Dr. Tina Clemente and Mr. Chito Sta Romana.
The roundtable discussion with CICIR delegates held at Balay Kalinaw last April 14, 2016.
One of the important activities during the visit was a roundtable discussion where among the topics tackled were major power relations, current issues in Asia Pacific security, Philippines-China bilateral relations and maritime disputes. The lead discussants for major power relations and Asia Pacific security issues were Prof. Ji Zhiye and Dr. Aileen Baviera, while Prof. Zhang Xuegang and Prof. Chito Sta. Romana gave remarks on Philippines-China bilateral relations.
From Left to Right: CICIR Delegates (Nie Huihui, Song Qingrun, Zhang Xuegang, Li Li and President Ji Zhiye), Senator Franklin Drilon, Dr. Aileen Baviera, Atty. Jay Batongbacal and Dr. Tina Clemente
The delegates paid a courtesy call on Senate President Franklin M. Drilon. During their meeting, Senator Drilon spoke about the significance of people-to-people relationship and improving contacts among the citizens of China and the Philippines. The meeting highlighted the importance of a peaceful resolution of the South China Sea disputes, finding ways to cooperate and to not let the issue hurt overall relations.
To better understand the situation of the Philippines' economic development, the delegates met with representatives from the Philippine Ports Authority and had a brief tour of Manila's North Harbor, as well as of Hermosa Ecopark Industrial Zone in Bataan. They were briefed about the operations of the two organizations and Philippine policies and practices regarding foreign investments in the Philippines.
Following the activities arranged by the UP, APPFI took the delegates to Bataan for a quick sightseeing tour and a glimpse into rich Filipino history and culture. They visited Mt. Samat Shrine and World War 2 Museum, St. Joseph Cathedral and Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.
The visit gives prominence to the desire for a peaceful resolution of the South China Sea disputes and a better relationship and cooperation not only between the governments but also among the peoples of the Philippines and China. APPFI supports exchanges like these that promote regional and international discourses on peace, development and cultural understanding.