Philippines-China ties cordial – Palace
MANILA, Philippines – Relations between the Philippines and China remain cordial and healthy, Malacañang said Monday, despite the maritime dispute between Manila and Beijing in the West Philippine Sea.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement as President Rodrigo Duterte is set to embark on his fourth trip to China this April since he assumed the presidency.
Duterte is attending the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China’s initiative to promote its vision of a “win-win cooperation” by expanding links to Asia, Africa and Europe through massive infrastructure investments.
“I think the relationship between the Philippines and China remains cordial and healthy,” Panelo said in a press briefing.
During the trip, Panelo said Duterte would further discuss trade, security, and economic issues with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Well, I suppose continuation of their discussion on mutual concerns relative to trade, security, and what else that will benefit both countries,” he said.
The Palace official dismissed the possibility that Duterte’s frequent trips to China would affect the Philippines’ relations with its longtime ally, the United States.
“[W]ith America, the only reason perhaps why the President has not considered visiting is because of the temperature. He could not stand very cold temperature; he gets sick,” he said.
Duterte had said earlier that he would never go to the US during his term as President after Washington became critical of his war on drugs and anti-criminality campaign.
But this was during the administration of former President Barack Obama.
Under the administration of Donald Trump, whom Duterte has called as a “good friend,” the US has invited him to visit Washington but he has yet to accept the invitation. / gsg
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