SPEAKER Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said China provides a development model that offers an alternative to Western approaches, which has served China well in the past few decades.

“China has given us the lesson that there is just not one path for development,” the Speaker was quoted as saying in a statement Sunday, following her meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

“Prior to China’s experience, it was thought that the only way to development is the Western-Style model of Jeffersonian democracy coupled with a free market,” she also said.

On her second year as a Board member, Ms. Arroyo attended the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Convention in Hainan, China, on March 26 -29. Boao brings together leaders in government, business and academic institutions in Asia.

She said there is no universal development model and that each nation can pursue its own path according to its historical context.

“But China has shown the world that you can have your own model of development using your own historical experience,” the Speaker said.

“Since the opening of China 40 years ago, it has transformed itself, it is the world’s leader in growth, unmatched in history. 400 million people were lifted out from poverty. China is on the verge of becoming the largest economy in the world,” she said.

During her visit, she also commended China’s leadership for the Belt and Road Initiative hoping to link China along its ancient trading routes to Russia, Europe, and the rest of Asia.

Ms. Arroyo said last week in Boao that the Philippines should treat China as a partner, rather than a threat, amid fears of Chinese participation in key government projects and Philippine dependence on Chinese debt. — Charmaine A. Tadalan