Duterte home after ‘productive’ talks with China’s Xi

September 01, 2019
Salvador Panelo

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte arrived safely in the country early Sunday after an official visit to China.

Duterte’s plane landed at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City before dawn.

The President was met by police and military officials upon his arrival.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said due to their close relationship, Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping were able to have “frank exchanges” regarding their countries’ positions on the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Duterte also received a courtesy call from Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan on the fourth day of his visit.

He watched the game between Gilas Pilipinas and Italy at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Guangzhou on Saturday “to lend moral support to our national team.”

Duterte met Chinese businessmen and urged them to invest in the Philippines.

Duterte’s official visit to China “has been successful and highly productive.” Malacañang said

“The close relationship that President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping have been able to foster through the years has enabled the two leaders to have frank exchanges on the respective positions of our two countries with regard to our territorial dispute, with both of them agreeing to exercise self-restraint and observe the UNCLOS, particularly with respect to maritime navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, and with China’s recognition of the immediate need of the crafting of a definitive Code of Conduct for our regional waters, all with the intent of avoiding provocative acts that may impair friendly ties and threaten the peace and stability of the region,” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

On Thursday, during the bilateral talks, Duterte raised the arbitral ruling invalidating China’s expansive nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.

In response, Xi explained the Chinese position. China does not recognize the award and did not participate in the arbitration proceedings, he said.

In the end, the two leaders agreed to disagree.

Xi was not offended by Duterte’s assertion of the arbitral ruling, Malacañang said Friday.

Both leaders agreed to work together “on the basis of mutual trust and good faith, to manage the South China Sea issue, and to continue to dialogue peacefully in resolving the conflict.”

They also agreed on the “importance of self-restraint and respect for freedom of navigation in — and overflight above — the South China Sea.”

Panelo on Sunday said both Duterte and Xi acknowledged that disputes can be resolved through dialogue and negotiations.
“Further, the two leaders recognize that despite any dispute that our countries may have, the same can always be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiations, specially given the centuries old familial ties between our nations,” he said.

Panelo also said both leaders “acknowledge that our bilateral relations have a much wider horizon, and there are vast frontiers where our nations can cooperate and assist each other for their mutual benefit, such as in the fields of education, health, agriculture, science and technology, security, trade, investments, energy, and people to people and cultural exchanges.”