QUEZON CITY – ‘In Search of a China Strategy’ was the theme of a recently concluded symposium organized by the Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, Inc. (APPFI) at the GT-Toyota Auditorium, UP Diliman last August 17 and 18.
The Symposium was the culmination of a series of small group discussions, roundtables, and consultations organized by APPFI with different public and private sector partners since 2015. Eighteen resource persons presented research findings and insights covering various aspects of Philippines-China bilateral relations. Trade, tourism, Chinese participation in Philippine mining, cooperation against transnational crime, science and technology cooperation, the West Philippine Sea disputes and infrastructure connectivity were among the many issues discussed. Also addressed was how relations are affected by domestic politics as well as regional geopolitical and economic trends. Aside from engaging a wider audience, one goal was to explore recommendations for the new Philippine administration.
The Symposium, co-organized by the UP Asian Center, was attended by over 150 academics, practitioners, opinion leaders, and students.
Dr. Aileen Baviera, President of APPFI, ended the symposium by saying “many of us will feel that we leave this symposium with more questions than answers, that we did not really come up with a China strategy. But this is really part of a process where we explore all the different considerations that we need to be aware of, going forward with our China relations. She also underscored that “our objective is not principally to promote good relations with China - although that is very important, but to promote Philippine interests and the welfare of the Filipino people in relation to China, to the region, and to the world. “
The APPFI was established in 2014 to promote peace, development and cultural understanding for peoples of the Philippines and the Asia Pacific, through international dialogue and cooperation.