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Duterte visits China, will meet Pres. Xi Jinping

BEIJING, China—President Duterte arrived here late Wednesday to begin his five-day visit highlighted by his bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Duterte landed at the Beijing Capital International Airport at 11:11 p.m. He is greeted by Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana.

He is welcomed by Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua.

Duterte left the Philippines Wednesday evening and arrived in Beijing on board a private plane. This is his fifth visit to China since he became president in 2016.

The highlight of the President’s visit will be his bilateral meeting with Xi where Duterte said he would finally raise the 2016 Arbitral Ruling on the West Philippine Sea which disapproved the expansive claims of China over the disputed waters in relation to the exclusive economic zone of the country in the West Philippine Sea.

According to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, the two leaders would discuss the comprehensive strategic cooperation between the Philippines and China, as well as the shared goals of the two countries.

As country coordinator of the ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, Duterte said he also aims to discuss with Xi the crafting of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea and how they can expedite its conclusion.

“The President believes that the absence of the COC that is to be observed by affected countries has caused numerous conflicts in the subject waters that could have been prevented by a document that will regulate their actions,” he said.

“A good example of such conflict would be the maritime incident which transpired a few months ago in Recto Bank,” he added.

The President will also discuss with Xi the conduct and framework of a possible joint exploration between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea.

The two leaders would likewise exchange views on issues important to their nations’ interests, such as fast-tracking the existing big-ticket projects of China in the Philippines, as well as improving our trade relations.

Duterte and Xi are also set to witness the signing of cooperative bilateral documents and memoranda of understanding which are aimed at strengthening ties, deepening friendship and enhancing diplomacy of both countries.

The President will then proceed to Guangzhou meet Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan who will pay a courtesy call to him and accompany him to watch Gilas Pilipinas battle it out with Italy at the FIBA World Cup.

Joining the President’s official delegation are Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Other members of the President’s official delegation are Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Prospero De Vera III, Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero, and Panelo.

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