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China can help Philippines solve energy issues: Wang

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks to reporters. Wang was in Davao City on Oct. 29, 2018, where he said Chinese companies were willing to help Filipino energy firms. pool photo via Reuters/File

MANILA -- Chinese companies are willing to help their Filipino counterparts solve energy issues, Beijing's top envoy said Monday after meeting his Philippine counterpart.

China has "mature" equipment, technologies, personnel, training and the financial capability to help the Philippines develop solar, hydro, wind and nuclear power, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

Wang spoke at a joint press conference with Department of Foreign Affairs Sec. Teddy Locsin Jr after their first ever meeting. The Chinese diplomat said there was "no reason" for Beijing not help its "good friend."

"Philippines is an important neighbor for China. The Chinese companies, I believe, will be happy to discuss with Philippine companies to see what you need and how we can help address energy issues," Wang said.

"Indeed energy provides an important driving force for our country’s development. It’s an important phase in our country’s industrialization. China has similar experience in its past development so we understand the urgent need of energy facing the Philippines," he said.

Locsin said negotiations towards a code of conduct in the South China Sea were "moving forward with astonishing amity." Manila and Beijing are among claimants in the resource-rich waters.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who assumed in 2016, sought to repair ties that were strained by the sea disputes, refusing to flaunt the Philippines' victory in an international arbitration court.

Duterte's predecessor, former president Benigno Aquino, initiated the case before the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague.

The dispute stalled plans by businessman Manuel Pangilinan's PXP Energy to jointly explore the Reed Bank with state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp.

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