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People's Daily Online

Xi, Duterte agree on full improvement of ties

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 16:27, October 20, 2016

BEIJING, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday agreed that the two countries will properly handle differences and achieve full improvement and greater progress in bilateral ties.

Calling the countries "neighbors across the sea," Xi said that though their relations have gone through twists and turns, the foundation of the China-Philippines friendship and the willingness to cooperate remain unchanged.

China highly values its relations with the Philippines, and is ready to work with the country to cement political trust and mutually beneficial cooperation, properly handle differences and become good partners, Xi said during talks with Duterte in Beijing.

He said managing differences in the South China Sea issue through dialogue and consultation was an important foundation for the healthy and stable growth of China-Philippines relations.

Both sides need to draw experiences from the past to open up promising prospects for the bilateral relationship, Xi stressed, calling on both sides to develop friendship and cooperation while properly handling differences.

"China and the Philippines have had foundation for friendship for generations and no reason for hostility or confrontation. Both sides should spare no efforts to promote neighborly relations," Xi said.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China and the Philippines have largely managed their differences on the South China Sea issue through dialogue and consultation, Xi said. "It is political wisdom and a successful practice worth passing down as well as an important foundation for the healthy and stable growth of China-Philippines relations."

As long as both countries adhere to friendly dialogue and consultation, China and the Philippines can have candid exchanges on everything, manage differences well, carry out cooperation and shelve problems that are difficult to agree on, for a while, Xi said.

Duterte, who is on a four-day state visit from Tuesday to Friday, said his talks with Xi were historical and helped to improve and develop bilateral ties.

He believed his current visit will benefit the two peoples.

The last state visit between the two countries' top leaders was five years ago, when Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, paid a state visit to China in September 2011.

Beijing-Manila ties had deteriorated due to the South China Sea arbitration case brought by Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, against China.

Xi put forward four proposals in developing Beijing-Manila ties: to cement political trust, expand substantial cooperation, promote people-to-people exchanges and strengthen cooperation in regional and multilateral affairs.

He called on both sides to enhance high-level exchanges in a bid to guide the development of ties, and boost exchanges and cooperation between the two governments, parties, parliaments and localities.

China is ready to enhance cooperation with the Philippines under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

Xi urged both countries to integrate their development strategies in a comprehensive manner to seek mutually beneficial results.

China is willing to participate in the Southeast Asian nation's infrastructure construction, covering railways, urban rail transit, highways, ports and other areas, so as to benefit the Philippine people, according to Xi.

China is also ready to encourage Chinese businesses to invest more in the Philippines to help the country's economic growth, said the Chinese president.

China supports the efforts of the new Philippine government in fighting against drugs, terrorism and crime, and would like to conduct cooperation with the Philippines in these areas, Xi said.

He also called for stronger bilateral cooperation in fisheries, education, the press, culture and tourism.

Xi suggested the two sides hold activities next year to mark the 600th anniversary of the China visit of the king of Sulu, an ancient kingdom in the Philippine islands.

China hopes to enhance coordination with the Philippines in multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Xi said.

Duterte said China is a great country, and the long-lasting friendship between the Philippines and China is unbreakable.

He appreciated China's great achievements, adding the two countries' development strategies are highly compatible and there was huge potential for cooperation.

The Philippines appreciates China's strong support for its economic and social development and is willing to deepen bilateral exchanges at various levels, he said.

Duterte called on the two countries to cooperate in the fields of economy and trade, investment, agriculture, science and technology, manufacturing, infrastructure, disaster prevention and mitigation, tourism, aviation, media, drug controls, anti-terrorism, marine policing and culture.

He hoped the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank could play a bigger role in the Philippines' economic growth.

The Philippines is ready to enhance coordination with China in international and regional affairs and push forward closer China-ASEAN ties, said Duterte.

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