By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Chinese President Xi Jinping commended President Duterte for pushing for a more independent Philippines and for working on having better ties with China.
Xi made the statement during the state banquet Duterte hosted for Xi in Malacañang Tuesday evening.
In his remarks, Xi thanked Duterte for inviting him to the country which the former said is famous for its picturesque scenery, bountiful resources, and hospitable people.
Xi also noted how the fraternity between the Philippines and China started since over a thousand years ago, citing for example the Chinese roots of Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal.
“Some of you may not know that his ancestry could be traced back to Jinjiang City in China’s Fujian Province where there is also a monument dedicated to him and where his heroism is widely known. Jose Rizal is not only the father of this nation but also a symbol of fraternal relations between the Philippines and China,” he said.
Xi also cited the Maritime Silk Road that linked the Philippines and China, and the Chinese merchants who used to sail to the country’s shores to trade silk, porcelain, and tea for the Philippines’ pearls and sea products.
“History has shown that ours has always been a relationship between equals, a relationship between two good neighbors,” he said.
The Chinese President also noted the better relationship that the Philippines and China now share since Duterte became president in 2016.
“After President Duterte took office, our two sides have worked together to remove many obstacles. Our relationship has been turned around and put on the right trajectory,” Xi said.
Xi even compared President Duterte to Rizal for pushing for a more independent Philippines.
“I commend the President for taking on Jose Rizal’s mantle and for his commitment to an independent Philippines,” he said.
According to Xi, he and Duterte agreed to elevate the two country’s relationship to one of comprehensive strategic cooperation.
“This decision, which will mark a new milestone in our relations, speaks to our shared determination to be good friends and good neighbors. We are truly pleased with this decision,” he said.
“In China, we have a saying: ‘A single chopstick can be easily broken. With ten of them tightly bundled, they can withstand much more damage.’ I know you have a similar proverb: ‘A broom is sturdy because its strands are tightly bound.’ In that spirit, let us unite as one and create a better tomorrow for both of our countries” he added.