Pres­i­dents find com­mon ground in en­sur­ing de­vel­op­ment

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Front Page - By AN BAIJIE in Da Nang, Viet­nam and ZHANG YUNBI in Bei­jing

Ties be­tween China and the Philip­pines are at a new start­ing point, and Bei­jing is ready to work with Manila to bring more ben­e­fits to its peo­ple, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping told his Philip­pine coun­ter­part Ro­drigo Duterte on the side­lines of the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Eco­nomic Lead­ers’ Meet­ing in Da Nang, Viet­nam, on Satur­day.

Friend­li­ness and neigh­bor­li­ness are the right di­rec­tion, Xi said.

Speak­ing of the South China Sea, Xi said China will con­tinue to co­op­er­ate with ASEAN coun­tries to main­tain peace and sta­bil­ity and pro­mote de­vel­op­ment and pros­per­ity in the re­gion.

Duterte said the Philip­pines is will­ing to han­dle mar­itime is­sues through bi­lat­eral chan­nels in ac­cor­dance with the con­sen­sus reached by the two sides.

The lead­ers met at a time when China has be­come the Philip­pines’ largest trad­ing part­ner, largest source of im­ports and sec­ond-largest source of for­eign tourists.

Not­ing Duterte’s state visit to China in Oc­to­ber last year, Xi said a new page has been turned, and ties have seen healthy and sta­ble de­vel­op­ment. Tan­gi­ble ben­e­fits have been brought to both peo­ples and have con­trib­uted to the re­gion’s peace and sta­bil­ity, he said.

Duterte said ties with China are ex­tremely im­por­tant, and the Philip­pines re­gards China as a sin­cere friend.

Xi said China is will­ing to con­tinue to view the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship from a strate­gic, long-term per­spec­tive, and to en­hance mu­tual po­lit­i­cal trust and deepen co­op­er­a­tion. The two coun­tries should en­hance high-level ex­changes to en­sure that de­vel­op­ment stays on the right track, Xi added.

Both coun­tries should deepen their prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion in ar­eas such as in­fra­struc­ture, agri­cul­ture and in­vest­ment, and should fo­cus on syn­er­gies be­tween the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and the Philip­pines’ de­vel­op­ment strat­egy, Xi said.

Duterte said the Philip­pines is com­mit­ted to press­ing ahead with co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous fields.

Chen Fengy­ing, a se­nior world econ­omy re­searcher at the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said Manila’s de­vel­op­ment goal — “Am­bisyon Natin 2040” — har­mo­nizes with the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. Build­ing on syn­er­gies will re­sult in more Chi­nese com­pa­nies tap­ping mar­kets over­seas and the Philip­pines ben­e­fit­ing from more in­vest­ment and con­struc­tion, Chen said.

Duterte said Manila is grate­ful for China’s as­sis­tance with its econ­omy, anti-ter­ror­ism ef­forts and main­te­nance of sta­bil­ity. Xi said China is will­ing to help the Philip­pines with poverty re­lief, and con­tin­ues to sup­port the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to safe­guard na­tional se­cu­rity.

A re­cent ar­ti­cle by Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to the Philip­pines Zhao Jian­hua, is­sued on the em­bassy’s web­site ear­lier this month, said that bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in fight­ing drug abuse has been pro­duc­tive. It noted that the two coun­tries stay in close con­tact with re­gard to global af­fairs and en­sur­ing re­gional peace, sta­bil­ity and de­vel­op­ment.

LI TAO / XINHUA

Lead­ers of APEC economies pose for a group photo at the 25th Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Eco­nomic Lead­ers’ Meet­ing in Da Nang, Viet­nam, on Satur­day.

Philip­pine pres­i­dent

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