Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in PH for Apec summit
Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders’ meeting.
Xi arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 at 12:23 p.m onboard an Air China plane.
Xi was welcomed by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua and Philippine Ambassador to China Erlinda Basilio were also present in Xi’s arrival.
Xi’s arrival has allayed fears that he may boycott the high-level meeting due to the persisting tension between China and other Southeast Asian countries, which include the Philippines, over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
READ: UN tribunal ‘totally ignored’ China’s 9-dash line – Carpio
The Philippines took China to court over the said territorial dispute. Last October, the Philippines scored a victory against China as the United Nations arbitral court ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear Manila’s claim.
Beijing has repeatedly refused to acknowledge or even take part in the arbitration proceedings as it claims virtually the whole of South China Sea through its “nine-dash line” rule.
READ: Obama to challenge China at Apec summit
US President Barack Obama, who will also attend the summit, is expected to push for talks on the territorial row during the sidelines of the summit as it sided with the claimants and called for peaceful resolution of the dispute.
However, in an earlier press briefing held in Beijing last week, Chinese vice foreign minister Li Baodong said that Xi has no plan to tackle the territorial row during the Apec meet.
“There is no plan to discuss the South China Sea issue. APEC is mainly a platform to discuss economic and trade cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. There is consensus on this point,” Baodong was quoted as saying.
READ: Asia-Pacific free trade area seen adding $2.5T to economy
Instead, what Beijing is pushing for is the establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) which it advocated during its last year’s hosting of the Apec summit. RAM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.