Duterte’s visit new chance for China, Philippines to grow ties

In this Nov. 20, 2018 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte is with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the state banquet at the Rizal Hall of Malacañan Palace. Pool/Russell Palma. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BEIJING, Aug 28, 2019, Xinhua. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has embarked on his fifth trip to China since taking office three years ago, providing a fresh chance for the two close neighbors to build closer ties, reported the Xinhua.

It has been merely four months since Duterte last came to China for the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. His five-day stay this time around — during which he will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping — is likely to strengthen already healthy bilateral ties, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Beijing-Manila relations experienced some twists and turns back in 2016 over the South China Sea. Under Xi and Duterte’s guidance, the two countries have chosen to depart from a bitter row and return to communication and cooperation.

Over the past three years, the two presidents, with a firm faith and strong will to bridge their differences and push aside any distractions, met seven times on different occasions to ensure the relationship remains on the right path.

During Xi’s visit to the Philippines in November last year, the two leaders decided to lift their bilateral relations to a higher level, which offered a great opportunity for the two countries to unleash potential for closer and more fruitful partnerships.

Along with ever frequent high-level contact, economic cooperation continues to hit new highs. China became the Philippines’ largest trading partner and supplier of imports in 2017 and has retained the position ever since.

Last year, Chinese investments into the Philippines reached 930 million U.S. dollars, making China the Southeast Asian country’s top foreign investor.

Meanwhile, the two partners have been actively seeking to synergize their development plans — the Belt and Road Initiative and the “Build, Build, Build” program — to push forward pragmatic cooperation on various fronts, including infrastructure, energy, tourism and anti-terrorism.

As a willing partner of the Belt and Road Initiative and a major country in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is welcome to join hands with China to promote stability and prosperity in the region. The two countries, which enjoy geographical advantages and a long-standing friendship, share broad interests and a common will in pursuing long-term development in a stable and peaceful environment.

The flourishing all-round cooperation illustrates that a solution is in the cards when two sides manage their territorial dispute through dialogue.

The bond between Beijing and Manila has proven resilient despite attempts by third parties to drive a wedge between them. Political wisdom from China and the Philippines will ensure that relations remain on track for years to come.

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