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Duterte assures Xi of PH’s commitment to maintain ties with China amid challenges

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 11:59 AM June 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has assured China which he referred to as a “close neighbor and a valued friend” of the Philippines’ commitment to preserving close ties as the two nations marked its 45th year of diplomatic relations.

In a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping dated June 9, Duterte noted further strengthening the two countries’ partnership amid challenges the world is facing, including the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

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“As the entire world continues to face challenges to security and stability and the rule of law and with the rise of non-traditional and emerging threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic, further strengthening Philippines-China partnership takes on even greater significance. We must forge on and ensure that the potential of our special ties is fully realized,” Duterte said.

“China is a close neighbor and (a) valued friend. As we look ahead to the golden jubilee of our diplomatic ties, I assure Your Excellency of our firm commitment to preserve and build on the gains of our close partnership for greater peace, progress, and prosperity for our nations,” he added.

The President also marked the “milestone” as a time to reaffirm “shared aspirations and the principles” committed with the signing of the two countries’ Joint Communiqué signed in 1975.

“These same sacrosanct principles for peaceful co-existence and mutual beneficial cooperation will remain our lodestar, as we continue to work together as partners under our Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation,” Duterte added.

Malacañang said the Philippines-China’s ties are enjoying a “renaissance” under Duterte’s leadership, even expressing hope to resolve “disputes” between the two countries.

Both nations have been locked in a maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea.

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China claims the entire South China Sea is part of its territory, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in 2016 that its nine-dash line and historic rights claims are invalid.

Duterte has been criticized for avoiding to directly confront China over its claims in the disputed waters while refusing to recognize the 2016 arbitral ruling.

/MUF
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TAGS: China, Philippines, Philippines China, Rodrigo Duterte, West Philippine Sea, Xi Jinping
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