BEIJING, August 28 (ChinaMil) -- Joseph Estrada, mayor of Manila and former president of the Philippines, expressed his admiration for China's development achievements when receiving a group interview with Chinese journalists in his office on August 27.
In Estrada’s view, China was a relatively poor country twenty years ago, but now it has become a world power. He believed that the Philippines needs China's help in the course of reaching its modernization goal.
Estrada said that his country is in dire need of better infrastructure, which indicates that it would be a right choice for the Philippines to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank proposed by China. "I hope that China can help us," said Estrada.
"Many Filipinos are of Chinese descent and this explains why the Philippines should maintain friendly relations with China," Estrada said. "In contrast, the Philippines needs China even more than China needs the Philippines. This is the reality", "rather than the U.S., China can help us a lot", he stressed.
Estrada is to embark on his China tour upon invitation to attend the commemoration activities of the 70th anniversary of victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War in Beijing. He mentioned that China is an important participant in the battles against Japanese invaders to emancipate Manila from the Japanese occupation. Estrada told the reporters that as the incumbent local government official, he had submitted an application for his visit to China to the Department of the Interior and Local Government and his application has got approved.
When Estrada was a senator, he voted to evict the U.S. military base from the Philippines. And he is still proud of that. "Without them (the U.S. troops), the Philippines will be better off because we are an independent country." He is also against the U.S. military deployment in the South China Sea.
He criticized that the U.S. interfere in the internal affairs of the Philippines is only for its own interests, rather than taking the interests of the Philippines into consideration. The 78-year-old Estrada , born in Manila, was a famous movie star in the Philippines in his early years. In 1967, he found his role in politics. He successively served as the mayor of San Juan, senator and Vice President of the Philippines. In 1998, he became the President of the Philippines but his tenure was forced to finish in January 2001. At the end of the interview, he invited journalist to watch a documentary on his political life.