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Philippines: Chinese Ambassador blamed media coverage for antitrust against China

Philippines: Filipinos' strong distrust of China may have been the result of "distorted" media reports about activities of Beijing, the country's envoy said Friday.

"It's normal for Filipino people to have some different views about China, but what I want to emphasize is that after my arrival here since late last year, I have been surprised many times by those distorted media coverage and those reports which do not give the whole picture of China and China-Philippine relations," Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian told CNN Philippines' The Source.

He did acknowledge concerns on maritime issues, which have been the main point of disagreement by the two states. A poll done by the Social Weather Stations in July showed a "bad" -36 trust rating towards China, against a +42 rating towards the United States and +27 for Australia. Huang said the survey results was due to a lack of understanding amid allegedly lopsided news reports putting China in bad light.

"I’ve been thinking about this. One is because of a lack of understanding, and lack of understanding leads to lack of confidence and lack of trust," the foreign envoy said. "I have also found with concern that most of our Filipino friends, they understand China through the perspective of West media. Obviously, some of the West media have bias about China so that caused a misleading role to Filipinos who try to understand China," he added.

Huang repeatedly called locals as "Filipino friends," downplaying the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea as something where the two nations can "agree to disagree." The SWS survey showed three out of five Filipinos believed that China held back information on COVID-19, which may have hampered prevention and treatment efforts worldwide.

He then cited efforts to improve people's impressions towards China, citing millions of Chinese tourists visiting the country and the promotion of cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

President Rodrigo Duterte has actively taken a friendly stance towards Beijing since assuming office in 2016. However, critics say China is not to be trusted as it refuses to recognize the July 2016 arbitral ruling which dismissed Beijing's sweeping claims in the South China Sea, and instead continues its incursions and reclamation activities in the disputed waters. (courtesy:cnn)

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