Duterte says, China visit “signals a turning point”
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that his fourday visit to China “signalled a turning point” in diplomatic relations between the two Asian countries.
“My state visit to China signaled a turning point in our shared history and showed that both countries are fully capable of working together for mutual beneficial cooperation even as we remain committed to settle disputes peacefully, in full adherence of international law,” President Duterte said in a speech in Davao City upon arrival from Beijing. In his meetings, Mr Duterte said they had “productive and extensive discussions on the full range of Chinese-Philippine relations, from trade and investments, to infrastructure and tourism, and to science and technology and health.”
“To realise the vision of a deeper and more meaningful engagement, we have opened formal lines of communications between our government and agreed on the full resumption of the regular bilateral consultations mechanisms which were put on hold for several years,” Mr Duterte said.
With security and stability recognised as necessary conditions for growth, Mr Duterte said the Philippines and China affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. “We acknowledged the need to address disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law,” he said. “We also agreed to continue discussions on confidence-building measures, including a bilateral consultation mechanism to discuss immediate issues of concern in South China Sea.”
To maintain stability, Mr Duterte said China and the Philippines concluded an agreement for general co-operation to minimise incidents at sea. To combat the menace of illegal drugs, he said both countries agreed to continue across a broad range of areas, including in capacity-building, equipment upgrading and support for rehabilitation purposes.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (left), and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.