Duterte meets US, China envoys to discuss military support, South China Sea
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday met the ambassadors of the Unites States, China and Hungary separately in Davao City to discuss cooperation, military support and the South China Sea.
According to Malacañang, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim assured the President that the US is “ready to provide more military equipment, assistance and training.”
“They agreed that PH and the US have mutual interests and shared values. Both stressed that these fruitful engagements and discussions are very important in ensuring that both states are on the same page,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
He said the ambassador assured Duterte that “the US understands the security concerns of the Philippines.”
Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua discussed the controversial South China Sea with Duterte, expressing eagerness towards the bilateral meetings, which will be convened in May.
“Through this bilateral mechanism, mutual trust and maritime cooperation will be forged and misunderstandings will be avoided,” Abella said.
He said China is determined to work with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations “in finalizing the Code of Conduct Framework on the South China Sea.”
China has previously refused to engage in such talks but following Duterte’s decision to establish stronger ties, it has been more open to dialogue, especially since it has expressed preference for bilateral meetings.
Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, also met with Duterte on Monday to announce that his country is ready to reopen its Embassy in the Philippines.
“The President said that PH is very interested in further strengthening bilateral relations with Hungary in terms of trade and investment and commerce, opening up the Philippine countryside as potential new markets, security cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges through scholarship programs,” Abella said.
“He (Szijjártó) emphasized that aside from mutual interests in commerce and trade, and investments and education, Hungary shares a common vision with PH in the fight against terrorism and illegal migration,” the Presidential spokesperson said.
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