President Rodrigo Duterte said he has renewed ‘friendship’ and solidified relations with world powers China and Russia after the APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting (AELM) in Vietnam.
In his arrival speech, Duterte said he considered his bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin as the “most productive” part of his trip in Da Nang.
“I also took the opportunity to meet my counterparts from many economies. I renewed my friendship with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and with President Xi Jinping of China,” he said.
Putin, in his first meeting with Duterte on the sideline of the AELM, promised to back the country’s combat against terrorism.
Duterte has expressed gratitude to Putin for Russia’s “timely assistance” in the end of the five-month long war in Marawi City.
Meanwhile, Duterte also lauded China’s aid in resolving the Marawi Crisis, saying he is seeing a “very bright future” on the relationship of the two countries.
He added that amid regional issues, he assured Xi that his friendship with him would remain “warm and robust.”
“I was also given again an invitation to go back to China whether as a friend, official, not official visits,” Duterte said.
“I see a very bright future for our relationship. Nothing to do with military. I have stated before and I was not lying, I would not entertain talks about military or anything except that I had to thank Mr. Xi Jinping for the timely and crucial help that he extended to our country when we were fighting the siege of Marawi,” he added.
The president added that the issue on the Code of Conduct in the West Philippine Sea was tackled, saying that China has vowed to not impede the freedom of navigation in the disputed islands.
“President Xi Jinping mentioned about a summit or a meeting, multilateral only to talk about the rules of conduct. It has nothing to do with sovereignty,” he also said.
“He knows that if he goes to war, everything will blow up. He acknowledged that war cannot be promoted by anybody, but it would only mean destruction for all of us…And I believe him because like me, he’s worried about the health and the problem of his countrymen,” Duterte added.