Xi: Friendship, cooperation the ‘only correct choice’ for China, PH
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said “friendship and winning cooperation” is the “only correct choice” for the Philippines and China.
Xi made the statement on his opening remarks during the expanded bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.
China and the Philippines are locked in a territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
“China and the Philippines are close neighbors with a thousand-year history of exchanges. Good neighborliness, friendship and winning cooperation is our only correct choice,” Xi said in his speech in Malacañang.
Xi, who arrived in Manila shortly before noon on Tuesday, is in the Philippines for a two-day state visit.
Addressing his “good friend” President Rodrigo Duterte, Xi said “they have made productive results in cooperation in all areas bringing benefits to our two peoples and making a contribution to peace and stability of the region.”
“I’m ready to work with you to chart the course for the future development of our relations from a strategic perspective, deepen friendship and cooperation so that our two countries will always be good neighbors, good friends, and good partners that enjoy common development and prosperity,” Xi noted.
During his stay in the country, the Chinese leader will hold meetings with Duterte and other top government officials.
He witnessed the signing of 29 agreements which include a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for oil and gas development cooperation.
China is claiming a vast portion of the South China Sea as part of its territory, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration Tribunal in The Hague invalidated this claim in 2016.
China has refused to recognize the ruling while Duterte has chosen to set aside the ruling and engaged Asia’s largest economy in bilateral talks. /ee
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