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China’s Xi ‘full of expectations’ on PH visit

/ 06:22 PM November 19, 2018
Duterte Xi Jinping

President Duterte meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Oct. 20, 2016. —AP

Chinese President Xi Jinping is “full of expectations” as he embarks on a two-day state visit to the Philippines beginning Tuesday. This will be his first trip to the country under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

Xi will arrive in Manila on Tuesday morning and lead a wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Park in Luneta in the afternoon before proceeding to Malacañang for a welcome ceremony.

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READ: Duterte, Xi to meet in Manila for the first time

“I will soon pay a state visit to the Republic of the Philippines at the kind invitation of President Rodrigo Duterte. I am full of expectations as I am about to set foot on this beautiful land, an ever-growing nation, and home to an honest and friendly people,” he said in a statement released Monday.

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“I wish to convey my cordial greetings and the best wishes to the people of the Philippines,” he also said.

Amid issues on the disputed South China Sea, the Chinese leader noted the exchange of ships and merchants between the two countries — including Chinese navigator Zheng He and the King of Sulu — more than a thousand years ago.

He said relations between Philippines and China is a “rainbow after the rain” as both countries have re-engaged in dialogue and consultation for the “proper handling” of the South China Sea.

READ: Philippines wins arbitration case vs. China over South China Sea

“In just a little more than two years, China has become the Philippines’ largest trading partner, largest export market and largest source of imports, and the second largest source of tourists,” Xi said.

He added China also supports the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and terrorism, as well as government reconstruction efforts in Marawi City, which was destroyed during the five-month battle between military and ISIS-inspired Maute Group in 2017.

According to Xi, he will visit the country mainly to have in-depth discussions with Duterte on how to elevate the “all-around cooperation under new circumstances and make overall plan for greater progress in our relationship toward a higher level.”

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He said both countries need to properly handle differences and make the South China Sea a “sea of peace, friendship, and cooperation that truly benefits” both Chinese and Filipinos. /kga

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TAGS: China, Diplomacy, Features, local news, nation, national news, Philippine news updates, Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, Xi Jinping
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