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Sept 3, 2007
China Pledges to strengthen defence ties with Philippines
China has pledged 15 million renminbi (roughly P90 million; $6.6 million) to the Philippine defense department as part of efforts to strengthen defense cooperation between the two countries, officials from the Department of National Defense (DND) said.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) top brass met with Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan in Camp Aguinaldo for over three hours on Monday. The Chinese official is in Manila for a five-day goodwill visit.

Defense deputy assistant secretary Ma. Joji Aragon, who was at the meeting, said China pledged 15 million RMB, clarifying Teodoro's earlier statement that China pledged 50 million RMB.

"We agreed to continue dialogue, which is mutual exchange of views regarding regional concerns… "[Having] closer ties regionally with all our neighbors is good for the military," Teodoro said.

Aragon said the 15-million RMB grant would most likely come in the form of construction equipment. She said China has donated 10 million RMB worth of construction equipment every year since 2004.

She said the 10-million RMB pledge for 2006 has not been delivered.

"For four years, they've given graders and tractors, this is used by the AFP core of engineers in infrastructure projects," she said. The Inquirer reports

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