Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shares the pragmatism of business leaders in dealing with China, which involves adopting ways to coexist while preventing flare-ups amid the territorial conflict. Asked earlier about the worsening sea skirmishes, taipan Teresita Sy-Coson said, “China is very close to us, we cannot be too antagonistic.” Arroyo expressed a similar sentiment as she indicated that the Philippines and China have a lot to share with each other to grow together in a region that is considered the main engine of global growth. While most of the First World is falling inextricably into recession, Asia is booming, and among its fastest-growing economies are China and the Philippines. “The world is indeed in a new era, and this new era calls for a new journey and new cooperation. In this new cooperation, the relationship between the Philippines and China is more important than ever for my country,” Arroyo said in a video address to the recent Central Economic Work Conference. That new era should be the Asian age in which economic cooperation is vital in maintaining the region’s growth momentum. Arroyo then referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s assessment that the new age will require nations to embrace digital transformation and be open to innovation, which are qualities that best describe emerging Asian nations. During Arroyo’s presidency from 2001 to 2010, relations with China were at their strongest, which the Chinese acknowledged as the golden age of the relationship. China’s intransigence, however, over its historic claim to nearly the entire South China Sea must be addressed for the relations to again reach the level reached during the Arroyo administration. There should be a middle course between China’s insistence on its nine-dash line claim and the Philippines’ perspective based on the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that invalidated that claim. Arroyo cited China’s breathtaking economic surge due to reforms and the opening of its economy to the world. That same willingness to change is needed this time to improve the prospects of peace in the region, which is necessary amid the period of prosperity. Arroyo narrated how China transformed itself from the 1970s, when she first visited the then-developing nation, to today, when it has become the second largest economy, next to the United States. “I recall that in the 1980s, the term “dragon economy” was coined to describe the economic miracles starting to take shape in China. I was then an official in my country’s Department of Trade and Industry. I was wondering then if China would become our chief competitor in the world. Little did I realize then that China was in a class of its own,” Arroyo said. China should then be treated as a development partner, not a competitor. In Arroyo’s view, China is a market for developing countries — a donor and a provider of capital and technology. “If I were to summarize the keys to China’s success during the last 40-plus years since 1978, I would point to four factors. First, a long-term vision. Second, a strong will to implement that vision. Third, a recognition of the value of infrastructure. And fourth, a recognition of the value of state-of-the-art technology.” Resolving our differences requires an open mind and the viewpoint that we swim or sink together. Read more Daily Tribune stories at: Follow us on social media Facebook, X, Instagram & Threads: @tribunephl Youtube: TribuneNow TikTok: @dailytribuneofficial

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