Xi tells Duterte PH to be given ‘priority’ once China develops vaccine vs COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Chinese President Xi Jinping has assured President Rodrigo Duterte that China will give the Philippines priority once it discovers a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The two leaders had a telephone conversation Thursday night that lasted for 38 minutes, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed in a statement.
According to a Palace news release, Duterte reiterated the need for cooperation on research trials for treatment against the respiratory disease while underscoring that it should be made “accessible and affordable” to all countries.
“For his part, President Xi reiterated China’s commitment to the international community to make any vaccine it develops a global public good and that as a friendly neighbor, China certainly considers the Philippines as a priority,” the statement read.
Xi also assured Duterte of China’s “full support” on supplying the Philippines with critical medical supplies and equipment.
Further, the Chinese President expressed support in the resumption and completion of “priority infrastructure cooperation projects in the Philippines.”
The two leaders’ phone conversation came three days after China and the Philippines marked its 45th year of diplomatic ties on June 9.
In Duterte’s letter to Xi, he noted the need to further strengthen both countries’ partnership as it faced the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ties between the two countries are enjoying a “renaissance” under Duterte, Malacañang earlier said.
This, despite being locked in a maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea.
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.
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