By Genalyn Kabiling
The Philippines and China have agreed to write a new chapter of closer bilateral relations to promote common development and prosperity and with respect for sovereign equality.
President Duterte met with President Xi Jinping in Malacañang and made the commitment to further strengthen the Philippine-China relations as good neighbors, friends, and partners.
The Chinese leader is on a two-day state visit to Manila upon the invitation of Duterte. This is the first state visit of Xi to the country.
“Today, therefore, is a landmark moment in our shared history. We have turned a new page and we are ready to write a new chapter of openness and cooperation,” Duterte said at the start of the bilateral meeting with Xi at the Palace.
“I look forward to fruitful discussions today as we review the progress we have made and chart the course toward a further enhanced partnership — all in the spirit of friendship, mutual understanding, and respect for sovereign equality,” he said.
Xi, for his part, recognized the growth in the Philippine-China relations, affirming the two nations are good friends and neighbors.
He also renewed his resolve to work with Duterte “to open a new chapter in the bilateral relations.”
“We are each other’s good friends. Thanks to our joint efforts, we have made productive the results in cooperation in all areas bringing benefits to our two peoples and making contribution to peace and stability of the region,” he said, citing that he and Duterte
“I am ready to work with you to chart the course for the future development of our relations from a strategic perspective, deepen friendship and cooperation so that our two countries will always be good neighbors, good friends, and good partners that enjoy common development and prosperity,” he added.
Prior to the closed-door meeting, Xi and his delegation were given a red-carpet welcome at the Malacanang grounds.
After the two leaders trooped the line, Xi was also introduced to the PResident’s daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and Cabinet members. A Filipino cultural show was also presented to the visiting Chinese leader on the way to the main Palace.
“On behalf of the pH government and the people of the Philippines, I warmly welcome you President Xi and your delegation,” Duterte said.
“For the Philippines, this is more than a reciprocal visit. It is a historic occasion, the very first state visit to be made by Chinese president in 13 years,” he added.
The two leaders are expected to witness the signing of more than 20 agreements following their bilateral meeting. Duterte is scheduled to host a state dinner for Xi and his delegation at the Palace Tuesday night.