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PH, China to sign 20 agreements

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 05:30 AM November 19, 2018
Xi Jinping-1110

Chinese President Xi Jinping. AP FILE PHOTO

Several economic and political agreements are expected to be signed during the first state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines on Nov. 20 to 21 to mark a new milestone in Manila and Beijing’s increasingly friendly ties.

Xi’s two-day state visit is the first in 13 years by a Chinese president since Hu Jintao in April 2005.

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Xi and President Rodrigo Duterte are expected to witness the signing of more than 20 “economic, political, educational and cultural agreements” between China and the Philippines, according to sources familiar with Xi’s itinerary.

On Nov. 20, the events Xi is expected to attend include a wreath-laying ceremony at Rizal Park in Manila, as well as welcome ceremonies in Malacañang.

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First state visit

Xi will be billeted at a luxury hotel in southern Metro Manila, where he is expected to receive a number of top Philippine officials, including leaders of Congress led by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, among others.

“During the state visit, the two leaders will exchange views on areas of mutual concern and chart the course for the future of Philippines-China bilateral relations,” presidential spokesperson and chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said last week.

This would be Xi’s first visit to Manila since November 2015 when he attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting under less friendly circumstances, as the president was still Benigno Aquino III.

This time, President Duterte is expected to be a much warmer host.

Since his election in 2016, the President has pursued stronger bilateral cooperation with China — at times at the expense of traditional allies such as the United States.

Maritime claims

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The Philippine leader has been reluctant to assert the country’s maritime claims in the West Philippine Sea despite a 2016 victory in the United Nations-backed arbitral court.

The Philippine National Police is deploying thousands of police personnel in anticipation of protest actions during the state visit.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar told the Inquirer on Sunday that the NCRPO was deploying 5,500 policemen from the five districts and the regional mobile force battalion and was expecting an augmentation of some 200 personnel, mostly from the Calabarzon regional police office.

Eleazar said the NCRPO was closely coordinating with the Chinese embassy for other security requirements during Xi’s visit. —With a report from Jeannette Andrade

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TAGS: China-Philippine Relations, Rodrigo Duterte, Xi Jinping
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