Philippines Says Sea Tensions With China Have Not Hurt Economy

(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines said geopolitical tensions with Beijing have not affected the Southeast Asian nation’s economy and the government is still willing to work with Chinese investors.

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“There doesn’t seem to be any indication at all that these issues have remarkable adverse effects on the economy,” Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said on Thursday, shortly after the government reported first-quarter growth of 5.7%, below a 5.9% expansion seen in a Bloomberg survey.

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Tensions between the Philippines and China over their competing claims in the South China Sea have escalated in recent months. The Philippines last year dropped Chinese financing for three railway projects because funding was not provided, Balisacan said.

“We are not turning against China,” Balisacan said. “I don’t think there is any attempt at all to disadvantage Chinese investors in the Philippines, particularly the private investors, just because we have these issues in the West Philippine Sea,” he added, using Manila’s term for the South China Sea.

--With assistance from Andreo Calonzo and Ditas Lopez.

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