Duterte to meet China’s president and premier in historic visit Thursday
BEIJING – It’s almost like Malacañang had been transported to this part of the world for a historic state visit that’s closely monitored by the international community given its potential impact on geopolitical dynamics.
When President Rodrigo Duterte meets with top Chinese officials on Thursday (Oct. 20), he will be with a power-packed entourage that includes most of his Cabinet members, key presidential advisers, lawmakers as well as a few provincial governors and heads of government corporations.
This Thursday — the busiest of Mr. Duterte’s four-day state visit — the president is set to separately meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang (head of government) at the Great Hall of the People.
At 10:30 a.m., Chinese president Xi Jinping will hold an official welcome ceremony for Mr. Duterte, followed by a restricted tete-a-tete, which will include only a handful of officials: Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., Finance Secretary Carlos Dominquez III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Department of Foreign Affairs Asia-Pacific Office executive director Evangeline Jimenez-Durocroq.
This will be followed by a series of bilateral meetings with more members of the Philippine delegation as well as the signing of a number of government-to-government deals.
After a luncheon to be hosted by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, the President will have one hour to freshen up before returning to the Great Hall of the People for the much-anticipated meeting with Chinese Premier Jinping at 3 p.m. He will be accompanied by 38 officials during the 30-minute meeting, based on an internal document obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Apart from Yasay, Dominguez, Lorenzana, Lopez and Jimenez-Ducrocq, more officials will participate during the bilateral meetings. The meetings will include Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno, Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go, Chief of Presidential Protocol Marciano Paynor Jr., Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, Presidential Assistant for Visayas Michael Dino, Presidential Adviser on Sports Dennis Uy, Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs and Information and Technology Communications Ramon Jacinto, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enrique Manalo and the Officer-in-Charge at the Philippine embassy in Beijing Elizabeth Te are also on the list.
Five lawmakers will be present during the meeting, including Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Sherwin Gatchalian as well as Congressmen Arthur Yap, Wesley Gatchalian and Harry Roque.
Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos and Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas will also join the meeting with the Chinese Premier along with special envoys to China Carlos Chan and Fernando Borja.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Isido Lapena, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chair Martin Dino, Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) Vivencio Dizon and Social Security System (SSS) chair Amado Valdez will also be part of the discussions. After meeting with the Chinese Premier, Mr. Duterte will keynote the Philippine-China Trade and Investment Forum at around 3:30 pm. This a business forum which is expected to be attended by about a thousand businessmen from the Philippines and China.
This will be followed by a meeting with Zhang Deijang, chair of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress.
At the state banquet in the evening, less than a hundred delegates from the Philippines are on the guest list.
Among the invitees are presidential son Paolo Duterte, the Davao City vice mayor, and presidential brother Benjamin Duterte. Taguig City Mayor Maria Laarni Cayetano, the wife of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Mr. Duterte’s running-mate during the May 2016 presidential elections, is also attending the state banquet. Business tycoon Manuel Villar, a former Senate president and House Speaker and Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. are also on the guest list.
As only a few of the business delegates are included in the state banquet, which is expected to last for two hours, the President will have a meet-and-greet session with the Philippine-China business delegation at the Grand Beijing Hotel at 9 p.m. This will be a sit-down event whereby the President will hop from one table to another for a short photo-op with people at each table. SFM