MANILA–President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, May 15, highlighted the strengthening of bilateral relations with China during his meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.
Duterte, in his speech during the expanded bilateral meeting with Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People, noted that his four-day state visit to China in October last year “affirmed our mutual interest in furthering our partnership.”
“We have signed a number of agreements and resumed formal bilateral dialogue mechanisms such as the foreign ministry consultations,” he added.
Duterte thanked the Premier for the warm welcome and excellent arrangements extended to him and the Philippine delegation.
At the same time, President Duterte said the Philippines and China have seen the valued friendships become stronger since his state visit last year.
“I look forward to productive discussions today to continue this positive engagement to further deepen our relations,” he said during his expanded bilateral meeting with President Xi Jin Ping.
He then highlighted the progress and development in the resumption of the regular dialogue mechanism.
“The Foreign Ministry consultation was finally reconvened in Manila this year to strengthen ties and to make use of that mechanism,” he said.
The President noted that it is important to keep communication lines between Philippines and China open.
“I am pleased that we have established a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea,” he said.
Duterte congratulated President Xi Jin Ping on the success of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
He was accompanied by Cabinet officials including Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Also present were National Security Council Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go, and Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana.
The President also attended the Leaders’ Roundtable Session I and Session II at the International Convention Center.
The President noted that the Philippines and China have started writing a new page of cooperation.
He expressed that from his state visit last year, the Philippines and China have been exploring ways to partner for mutual benefit, equality, and expanded economic growth.
The President underscored that the Philippines will be firm in its resolve to combat corruption and furthered that government wants investments to spur and sustain inclusive growth and development.
The President also cited the Build, Build, Build initiative of the administration which aims to upgrade the current infrastructure by building new high-impact projects that will connect people, create jobs, and bring down the cost of doing business.
He noted that the initiative will also attract more investments, stimulate trade and tourism, and complement other regional and international mechanisms for greater connectivity such as China’s One Belt One Road Initiative.