Malacañang all praises for Xi a day before state visit
Malacañang is all praises for Chinese President Xi Jinping as the Philippine government rolls out the red carpet for his visit to Manila on Tuesday.
Xi’s trip to Manila will be his first state visit to the country under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said “the President and the entire Filipino nation look forward” to the two-day visit of Xi.
Panelo said Xi’s visit to the Philippines “is a turning point in both our countries’ histories.”
While the Philippines and China have been locked in long standing maritime dispute in the South China Sea, Duterte chose to set aside the row to warm up ties with Beijing, which was strained during the Aquino administration.
China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated this in July 2016, favoring the Philippines’ claims in the area.
But China refused to recognize the sea ruling.
Duterte has chosen to set aside the ruling and engaged China in bilateral talks.
“We laud President Xi for China’s continued efforts to promote peace and stability in our region, through dialogues and consultations in handling the South China Sea issue, as we share his aspiration to bring our nations’ relationship to a higher level of collaboration,” Panelo said.
“Indeed, amity solves international disputes and even forges a more powerful alliance between both countries against threats to security, including terrorism, violent extremism, criminality, and the drug menace,” he added.
The Palace official said Xi’s visit to the Philippines “marks an opportunity to further strengthen and sustain our bilateral relations with the foreign country, which surged forward under the visionary leadership of President Duterte.”
“We consider our country’s long-lasting friendship with China and the presence of Chinese and Chinese-Filipinos in the country as integral parts of our own growth and progress,” he said.
China, he said, “is now considered a top trading partner of the Philippines, a leading export market for the Philippines, and one of the largest tourist origins to the Philippines.”
“The Philippines and China’s shared hopes for their citizens continue to pave the way for closer bonds between the two nations. Owing to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s cautious, pragmatic and diplomatic yet independent foreign policy, we anticipate more opportunities to forge better cooperation and friendship with China,” he said. /kga
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