Philippines offers trade olive branch to China

The Philippines and China will put their disagreements over overlapping claims to South China Sea islands on the back burner as President Benigno Aquino begins a week-long visit aiming to sharply increase trade with Beijing.

The Philippines and China will put their disagreements over overlapping claims to South China Sea islands on the back burner as President Benigno Aquino begins a week-long visit aiming to sharply increase trade with Beijing.

Mr Aquino is leading a delegation of nearly 300 business leaders on a trip during which the Philippines and China are expected to agree on a five-year economic development plan seeking to boost two-way trade six-fold to about $60bn (€41.35bn).

Most of it will be Chinese investments as the Philippine economy continues to grow and Mr Aquino’s government seeks funds to increase spending on social services to reduce poverty.

Mr Aquino says both countries want to resolve the dispute over the Spratly Islands peacefully.

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