Palace: Duterte’s China visit ‘highly successful’ | Global News
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Palace: Duterte’s China visit ‘highly successful’

/ 08:38 AM April 28, 2019
Rodrigo Duterte and Xi Jinping

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, before the meeting at the Great Hall of People in Beijing, China Thursday, April 25, 2019. AP

BEIJING, China – President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent visit to China’s capital – the fourth since rising to power in 2016 and in the midst of tension in the West Philippine Sea – was “highly successful” as it put forward national security and interest, his spokesperson said.

“Our countrymen are assured that the President is chartering our independent foreign policy to a new height of diplomatic relations with other nations,” presidential spokesperson and chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said in a press statement on Sunday.

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Panelo said this foreign policy was “solely based on our national security and interest and towards a direction that will contribute to our national development, as well as the realization of the aspiration of our people to attain economic progress and comfortable life for the greater masses of our countrymen,”

Duterte, who flew back to Davao on Saturday night, had “productive and fruitful” separate bilateral meetings with China’s president Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang, where commitment to “friendship” and “understanding” with China had been affirmed, Panelo said.

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“President Duterte reiterated to president Xi his resolve to endeavor to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, stability and prosperity. He expounded the need for both countries to exercise restraint and caution to avoid actions that could complicate situations,” he said.

Earlier, Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said Duterte raised with Xi the 2016 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ruling favoring the Philippines’ territorial rights. However, China stood pat on not recognizing the arbitral ruling.

READ: Sea row tackled at Duterte, Xi meet

Nevertheless, Xi said China was willing to address Philippine concerns on the swarming of Chinese militia in sensitive areas and the harvesting of giant clams.

Duterte, who was among the 37 heads of state who participated in China’s Belt and Road Forum, also expressed readiness to pursue more high-quality and good-impact projects with Beijing.

The President’s bilateral meeting with Xi yielded a one-billion renminbi (P7.7 billion) grant to the Philippines. Mr. Duterte also witnessed the signing of 19 business agreements valued at $12.16 billion, covering a wide range of areas of investments such as in energy, infrastructure that includes tourism-related facilities and internet connectivity, agriculture and training of Filipinos sojourning in China.  These business deals are seen to create more than 21,000 jobs for Filipinos.

President Duterte gave his assurance to prospective foreign investors of all nationalities that the Philippine government will create an enabling environment that allows their business establishments and investments to prosper. He guaranteed zero tolerance to corruption.

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During a closed-door high-level meeting, Panelo said the President highlighted the contribution of migrant workers to the development of home and host countries, where he advocated for their protection and welfare. In the same forum, Duterte pitched for development assistance based on reciprocal benefits.

In his last day in China, Duterte attended the Leaders’ Roundtable Sessions in the Yanqi Lake International Conference Center.

During one session where the President was given the opportunity to have an intervention, he stressed the value of nations, especially in Asia, working together with a shared goal of inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth and prosperity.

He welcomed economic investments that would help the Philippines improve agricultural productivity and build clean and green infrastructure. /cbb

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TAGS: Belt and Road, China, News, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo, West Philippine Sea
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