Manila — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had a productive five-day official visit to China, reaffirming the country’s long-standing ties with the Asian economic giant during his meeting with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, a Palace statement said Sunday.
The President returned to Manila on Sunday morning after his official visit to China. It was his fifth trip to the Asian neighbor since he became President.
“The two leaders reaffirmed the long-standing friendship between the Philippines and China and renewed their commitment to further enhance our countries’ Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation,” the statement said.
“Presidents Duterte and Xi had candid and open exchange of views on the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea, including the Arbitral Award which the Philippines won in 2016,” it added.
Acknowledging the importance of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea to regional peace and stability, the two leaders have expressed determination to fast-track negotiations for the conclusion of a binding COC.
President Duterte conveyed the Philippines’ commitment to enhance the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) engagement with China during the country’s stewardship of the ASEAN-China Dialogue.
Aside from meeting the Chinese president, President Duterte also met with Premier Li Keqiang and reiterated the Philippines’ strong resolve to further expand economic ties and people-to-people exchanges with China.
At the same time, he stressed the importance of completing infrastructure projects supported by China with favorable financing arrangements.
As a response, Premier Li conveyed his country’s commitment to step up cooperation to support the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” Program to deliver win-win outcomes.
Six agreements were signed during the President’s official visit, covering cooperation in the areas of education, science and technology, finance, and customs, among others.
The President also met with Chinese and Filipino investors, including key business leaders in the Philippine construction industry, during the Philippines-China Business Forum organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
While in Beijing, the President likewise graced the opening ceremony of the 2019 FIBA Basketball Word Cup as special guest of President Xi, the only foreign leader invited to attend the event.
After the FIBA opening rites, President Duterte then flew to Guangdong Province. He was welcomed by Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and top political leaders of the province.
To boost the morale of the Philippine cagers, the President met Gilas Pilipinas members at the locker room and watched the match between the Philippines and Italy at the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Center.