Xi, Duterte discuss ties, regional cooperation

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/3 23:08:39

Philippine leader looks forward to attending B&R Forum

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Philippine counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, spoke over the phone Wednesday, agreeing to engage in more practical cooperation and close communication.

Xi said bilateral ties have improved greatly after the two met twice last year and reached important agreements, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The two countries are deepening mutual political trust and cooperating in various fields, Xi said.

Duterte said in the phone call that he was happy to see the enhancement of bilateral friendship and solidarity, as well as the restoration of their exchanges and cooperation in various areas, Xinhua reported.

Duterte added that he looks forward to attending The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation from May 14 to 15 in Beijing.

Including Duterte's visit in mid-May, the Philippine president will have visited China twice half a year after taking office, which shows the importance Duterte attaches to bilateral ties, and the phone call shows China's appreciation of this, said Li Kaisheng, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Duterte reversed the pro-US policy of his predecessor Benigno Aquino III, whose administration filed an arbitration case against China over the South China Sea disputes at the Hague arbitral court. China has repeatedly rejected the court's ruling in July 2016.

A joint statement at the recently concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in the Philippines refrained from criticizing China over "land reclamation and militarization" in the South China Sea.

The statement took China's interests into consideration and the Philippines, as this year's rotating ASEAN chair, has played a role in supporting China, Li told the Global Times on Wednesday.

A channel for dialogue and consultations on the South China Sea issue has also been set up, said Xi.

The two countries need to maintain friendly relations and push for practical cooperation Xi added. 

As this year's ASEAN chair, the Philippines is ready to advance the bloc's relations with China, and to maintain close communication and cooperation with Beijing in international and regional issues, said Duterte.

The two leaders also exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula situation.

Xi said China firmly supports the realization of a denuclearized peninsula and for maintaining its peace and stability, saying the issue should be resolved through dialogue and consultations.

The Chinese president urged all relevant parties to exercise restraint and return to the right track of dialogue and negotiations.

China is willing to see ASEAN's active role in securing regional peace and stability, he noted.

Newspaper headline: Xi, Duterte discuss ties, region

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