Philippines has benefited from pivot to China

I was surprised to read Mr Salem Ghandour's piece (The Philippines' pivot to China counts for little; June 22).

I was struck, in particular, by how Mr Ghandour came to the conclusion that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's pivot to China has "delivered very little in return".

The facts show otherwise. For one, President Duterte's decision to forge a stronger relationship with China immediately reduced tensions arising from the South China Sea issue.

Tension between China and affected Asean countries had been escalating. President Duterte's stance allowed the various parties involved to have a cooling period to facilitate a rational dialogue.

Mr Ghandour seems not to value this de-escalation of tension.

Furthermore, President Duterte's change in stance has led to China pledging a total of US$24 billion (S$33 billion) of investments and credit lines, of which US$15 billion will be investments in 26 projects and US$9 billion in soft loans.

Some of the pledges have already materialised, such as the US$3.7 billion in 30 projects focusing on poverty reduction.

China's pledges are expected to generate two million jobs over the next five years.

Clemente Escano