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PH-CHINA BILATERAL MEETING

China’s Xi to visit Manila in November

/ 12:07 AM April 12, 2018

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte (left) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands after a signing ceremony in Beijing on Oct. 20, 2016. Duterte met with his Chinese counterpart Xi on October 20, state media said, as the Philippines’ leader seeks closer ties with the Asian giant while blasting his US allies. (File photo from AFP)

Published: 10:29 a.m., April 11, 2018 | Updated: 12:07 a.m., April 12, 2018

HAINAN, China — Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the Philippines in November, the first time he will come to the country under the more friendly administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced Xi’s decision to come to the Philippines after the Chinese leader’s meeting with the Philippine President during which they discussed “joint offshore oil development,” the South China Sea dispute, boosting military cooperation, and working together to combat terrorism and illegal drugs.

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Xi will fly to Manila after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Papua New Guinea, Roque said.

The last time Xi was in Manila was in 2015 when he attended the Apec summit.

At that time, Philippines-China ties were frosty, as President Benigno Aquino III had legally challenged Beijing’s sweeping claim to the South China Sea.

Bilateral meeting

The President and Xi met after the Boao Forum for Asia, where both addressed the plenary and reaffirmed their commitment to trade.

Xi promised to give the Philippines another 500 million yuan, or P3.8 billion, in economic assistance.

The two leaders also agreed to pursue offshore oil development. “There was a more or less mention that joint … offshore oil development must continue,” Roque said.

The Presidewnt and Xi also talked about the South China Sea dispute and agreed to focus on stability in the region, he said.

They agreed to strengthen communication to avoid any untoward incidents, he added.

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The two leaders likewise agreed to further their cooperation in fighting terrorism and drugs.

The Philippines and China will sign a memorandum of understanding on road development.

Defense cooperation

In his opening remarks at their meeting, the President told Xi that he wanted to strengthen the Philippines’ defense and military cooperation with China.

“China and the Philippines could do more to boost military and defense cooperation under the framework of the 2004 memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation,” he said.

The memorandum was signed by the Department of National Defense and China’s Ministry of National Defense on Nov. 8, 2004.

The Philippine President said he welcomed China’s hosting of the 6th Annual Defense and Security Talks to discuss better cooperation.

He thanked China for its military assistance, saying it made a significant difference during the five-month siege of Marawi City by Islamic State-inspired terrorists.

He told Xi that he was “very happy” with his reelection. Xi won a second term in March with no limits, which could allow him to be president for life.

Six deals

The President and Xi also witnessed the signing of six government-to-government agreements, including the employment of Filipino teachers of English in China.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said China needed 100,000 English teachers. They could earn $1,200 a month.

The other deals signed were for the prefeasibilty study of the proposed Davao City Expressway Project, economic and technical cooperation, Phase III of the Technical Cooperation Project for the Filipino-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology, preferential buyer credit loan for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project between the Philippines and the Export-Import Bank of China, and broadcasting equipment to the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

/muf /pdi

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TAGS: China, Duterte, Manila, Roque, visit, Xi Jinping
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