President Duterte expressed his desire to go to China this year to personally thank Chinese President Xi Jinping for their donation of 600,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccines.
Duterte made the statement as he personally welcomed the Sinovac vaccines donated by the Chinese government to the Philippines at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on Sunday, February 28.
In his speech during the ceremony, Duterte told Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian that he wants to fly to China just to express his gratitude to President Xi.
“Mr. Ambassador, I’d like to just say that towards the — maybe at the end of the year, when everything has settled down — I intend to make a short visit to China to just shake hands with President Xi Jinping and to personally thank him for this donation. Thank you,” he said.
In a press conference after the event, the President said he wants to go to Beijing even if it would only be a one-day trip.
“If I have to travel to China– even one day– just to tell President Xi Jinping, ‘Thank you, and then I go home,” he said.
The President likewise pointed out that China has donated vaccines to many countries but the Philippines was the only country where China made a personal delivery.
“China has donated several vaccines to several countries. But it is only the donation made to the Philippines that was carried by a Chinese government plane,” Duterte said.
“Iyong iba kinukuha doon sa China. Dito, hinatid sa atin (Other countries had to get the vaccines from China but China delivered the vaccines to us),” he added.
In honor of his mother
During the press conference, President Duterte said he would want to visit Fujian Normal University, the school that dedicated a college and a building to his late mother Soledad before going to Beijing to meet Xi.
“My mother was one of the first educators of the Chinese school in Davao… So in China, they have a building named after my mother. So I’d like to go to Xiamen before going to Beijing,” he said.
President Duterte was supposed to visit the Soledad College of Fujian Normal University in Fuzhou, Fujian Province during his trip to China in August 2019 to inaugurate the building built in honor of his mother. However, this did not push through due to domestic logistical issues.