Former President Duterte meets with China’s Xi Jinping
MANILA, Philippines — Former President Rodrigo Duterte met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, according to Hua Chunying, the spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila said that the two met at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.
CCTV Video News Agency posted a video of its report on the meeting.
According to Hua, Xi told Duterte he “appreciates the strategic choice” he made to improve China’s relationships with the Philippines.
“China values its relations with the Philippines and is ready to work with the Philippines to promote the steady and sustained growth of bilateral relations,” Hua said on Twitter.
President Xi Jinping met with former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. President Xi said he appreciates the strategic choice Mr. Duterte made to improve relations with China during his presidency & his important contributions to friendly exchanges between the two countries. pic.twitter.com/3RxyXb206C
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) July 17, 2023
Duterte’s administration acted as a close ally of China despite the tension with the Philippines due to China’s nine-dash line, a sweeping claim over nearly the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippines challenged this claim in 2013 before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which it won on July 12, 2016. The arbitral ruling invalidated China’s claim and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights over its 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte’s pivot to China — which weakened ties with the United States — ran in contrast with current President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who restored those ties with the US.
Earlier this year, the US and the Philippines agreed to additional Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites in four locations in Luzon that were identified by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
This drew the ire of the Chinese government, calling the move as “stoking the fire by offering the US access to military bases near the Taiwan Strait.”