#ThewRap: Things you need to know, June 29, 2017

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"The donation is not big but it is big in the sense that it marks a new era in relations between our two militaries", the ambassador said.

He added that since China and the Philippines fight the same enemy, "the Chinese would like to explore the possibility of joint training, intelligence sharing and joint military exercises in the area of fighting terrorism".

Speaking before the turnover ceremony of approximately P590-million worth of military assistance to the Philippines on Wednesday, June 28, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua announced that Beijing is also exploring joint military exercises with the AFP.

The fighting in Marawi began May 23 is yet to end.

"Yesterday the first batch of emergency assistance was delivered to the Philippines", the ambassador said.

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The whole island is now under martial law, which Duterte says he won't lift until the island is safe.

The Chinese government also donated ₱5M to families of soldiers slain and wounded in Marawi. The Chinese government had earlier donated P15 million to the rehabilitation of Marawi.

Duterte also said that the government welcomes help from its global partners in rebuilding Marawi. "And China will remain so for (a) thousand years to come", the Chinese ambassador said.

Mr. Duterte said when he first visited China in October past year, they discussed the need to address the "emerging threat of terrorism and piracy in Mindanao".

Duterte said China's help will not only strengthen the commitment of both countries to support one another,"but also highlights the dawn of the new era in Philippines-Chinese relations".

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Duterte has pledged to steer Manila closer to Beijing while consistently blasting the US, which has criticized his brutal war against mostly small-time drug dealers and addicts.

Duterte said that the military assistance is one of the defense cooperation matters he discussed with Chinese President Xi Jin Ping in his visit to China in October previous year.

"HKSAR will be in a better position to enhance its cooperation with the Philippines, and contribute even more to the overall development of the relations between China and the Philippines", he remarked. "And I was glad when I was informed a few weeks ago that it was on its way here". "It is a good thing we have a good friend like China who is very understanding", Duterte said.

He promised "ferocity, not brutality" in the government response to terrorists.

The donation of assault and sniper rifles as well as the ammunition was a demonstration of China's growing bilateral relationship with the Duterte administration, veering away from the usual ally, the United States of America.

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