PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have both agreed to further strengthen bilateral ties and push for peace, development and cooperation between the two countries.
Xi recently met with Duterte at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, and the two leaders expressed their readiness to push forward ties. “Under the two sides’ joint efforts, bilateral ties smoothly realized taking an upturn and scoring consolidation and uplift, and continuously achieved tangible outcomes, during President Duterte’s administration over the past three years,” said Xi, expressing welcome for Duterte’s visit.
“At present, the international and regional situations are undergoing profound and complex changes. However, peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit are still an irresistible trend of the times,” Xi said.
Xi said he is willing to work with Duterte to continue to grasp the trend of the times from a strategic and long-term perspective, leading the sound development of bilateral ties. “This will not only benefit the two countries and their peoples, but will also add positive energy to regional peace and stability.”
He said it is necessary to continue to promote the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Philippine “Build, Build, Build” program, and implement major cooperative projects in such areas as infrastructure construction, industrial parks, telecommunications and energy.
“China is willing to import more high-quality fruits and agricultural products from the Philippines, and will send experts to the Philippines to teach agricultural and fishery technology,” said Xi.
On issues such as human rights, China will continue to firmly support the Philippines’ efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and resist external interference, said the Chinese president.
On the South China Sea issue, Xi said China and the Philippines have been maintaining effective communication. He said the two sides should set aside disputes, eliminate external interference, and concentrate on conducting cooperation, making pragmatic efforts and seeking development.
Xi said: “As long as the two sides handle the South China Sea issue properly, the atmosphere of bilateral ties will be sound, the foundation of the relationship will be stable, and regional peace and stability will have an important guarantee.” Both sides can take a “bigger step” in the joint development of offshore oil and gas, said Xi.
“The Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea is a pioneering undertaking in establishing rules and regulations in the South China Sea, and China and the Philippines should be committed to promoting the adoption of the COC at an early date,” said Xi, stressing an early adoption will demonstrate the firm position and positive stance of China and the Philippines to jointly safeguard the long-term stability of the region. (Xinhua. With additional report from Mindanao Examiner)