BREAKING: Duterte, Xi discuss pandemic response over phone — Chinese Embassy
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese president Xi Jingping had a phone conversation on Thursday night, on the eve of the Philippine Independence Day celebrations, the Chinese Embassy in the country said.
Posts on social media by the Chinese Embassy said that the two leaders discussed their respective governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the cooperation between the two governments.
“Chinese President Xi Jinping had one telephone conversation with Philippine President Duterte on the evening of June 11,” the embassy said in a Facebook post.
“Xi Jinping stressed that since the outbreak of COVID-19, the governments and people of China and the Philippines have helped each other and fought the pandemic together, demonstrating the brotherly friendship of mutual help,” they added.
#45yearsCNPH#19thCNPHFriendshipDayChinese President Xi Jinping had one telephone conversation with Philippine…
The ties of the two countries, both celebrated its 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations, was also a topic during the phone call. According to the Chinese Embassy, Duterte lauded the Chinese government for its strong leadership, which supposedly led to the control of the pandemic.
The pandemic, which originated in China’s Wuhan City, has already infected 7.373 million people worldwide, with 416,511 dying from it. At least 3.448 million on the other hand have recovered.
In the Philippines, over 24,000 patients have been infected — over 1,036 of which are now dead.
“Duterte said that this year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China, which is an important milestone in the relations between the two countries,” the embassy said.
“Under your strong leadership, China has not only successfully controlled the pandemic itself, but also generously extended a helping hand to partners such as the Philippines,” the embassy added, apparently referring to Duterte’s message to the Asian superpower’s head of state.
Duterte, who is currently in Davao, is expected to miss the traditional Independence Day rites at the monument of national hero Jose Rizal in Luneta. Instead, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea would represent him.
Ties between China and the Philippines have grown strong in recent years especially under Duterte’s presidency, after he adopted an independent foreign policy. Prior to Duterte’s term, Manila engaged in a legal battle with Beijing over the latter’s intrusion in disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea.
This is not the first time Duterte expressed warm feelings for China. In a letter on Wednesday, Duterte assured Xi of the country’s commitment to maintain ties with China despite challenges.
The recent string of events did not sit well with a lot of people on social media, with people bashing Duterte’s stand while making comments on issues considered controversial to China on the Chinese Embassy Facebook page.
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