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Duterte, Xi hold ‘warm,’ ‘positive’ talks, vow to further enhance PH-China ties

President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed further to enhance the relationship between the Philippines and China, noting that the ties between the two neighboring countries have improved over the past six years.

File photo of President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the opening ceremony of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing, China on August 30, 2019. (ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO) 

Malacañang made this statement following Duterte’s scheduled telesummit with his Chinese counterpart on Friday, April 8, which it described as “open, warm, and positive” and lasted for one hour.

According to the Palace, both leaders took stock of and reviewed the Philippines-China ties over the last six years and described the trajectory of relations as one that is positive and created more significant space for partnership and cooperation.

“Both Presidents recognized that economic and infrastructure cooperation between the two countries intensified and underscored the significant growth of bilateral trade and economic exchange,” the Palace statement read.

“Presidents Duterte and Xi agreed to further enhance two-way trade and investments, and continue supporting the Build, Build, Build program,” it added.

The leaders likewise stressed the need to open up access to goods and services and work for a balance of trade that would reflect a healthy state of economic partnership.

“Both leaders considered the elevation of Philippines-China bilateral relations into a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation as a milestone achievement that demonstrated the commitment of the Philippines and China to continue building on the gains of the previous years towards the future,” Malacañang said.

Covid-19

Both President Duterte and President Xi acknowledged the importance of mutual support in the fight against Covid-19. They agreed that making vaccines available to nations that most need them is crucial to the global and regional economic rebound.

“The leaders committed to work even more closely to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic and agreed to explore constructive ways to jumpstart interaction and exchanges through, among others, mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, streamlining health protocols, and resumption of commercial flights,” Malacañang said.

West Philippine Sea

Duterte and Xi stressed the need to exert all efforts to maintain peace, security, and stability in the South China Sea by exercising restraint, dissipating tensions, and working on a mutually agreeable framework for functional cooperation.

“Both leaders acknowledged that even while disputes existed, both sides remained committed to [broadening] the space for positive engagements which reflected the dynamic and multidimensional relations of the Philippines and China,” the Palace said.

The two Presidents emphasized the importance of continuing discussions and concluding the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea.

Regional and world developments

Meanwhile, Presidents Duterte and Xi discussed global and regional developments and reaffirmed the centrality of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). They also renewed the commitment to bring peace, progress, and prosperity to the region.

Thye likewise expressed deep concern over developments in other parts of the world, including Ukraine. The two Presidents renewed the call for a peaceful resolution of the situation through dialogue in accordance with international law.

The two Asian leaders also agreed on the need for both the Philippines and China to work closely together to address the impacts of climate change and ensure that the developing world’s voice will be heard in all relevant climate change fora.

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