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Beijing: Philippines, China 'neighbors of traditional friendship'

Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss bilateral relations, cooperation across the board, as well as international and regional issues of common interest. AP/Heng Sinith

MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese government is looking forward to developing relations with the Philippines as President Rodrigo Duterte is set to pay a visit from October 18 to 21.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that Beijing stands ready to work with the Philippines to advance bilateral relations in a "sound and steady manner."

"I want to stress that China and the Philippines are neighbors of traditional friendship. People of the two countries have been friends with each other since ancient times," Geng said in a press briefing.

Geng noted that bilateral relations have developed constant progress in cooperation in political, economic and cultural aspects which delivered tangible benefits to both countries.

"Amity between the two countries is not only what the people aspire for but also where the development trend of the two countries and the region leads," the Foreign Ministry official said.

Duterte will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss bilateral relations, cooperation across the board and regional issues of common interest.

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The chief executive will also meet with Premier Li Keqiang and Zhang Dejiang on separate occasions.

"The Chinese side hopes that the visit by President Duterte will help increase political mutual trust, strengthen pragmatic cooperation, extend traditional friendship, properly address differences through dialogue and replace the strategic cooperative relations for peace and development on the track of sound and steady growth," Geng said.

Meanwhile, Geng stressed that China's position on the South China Sea dispute is consistent and clear.

"We are willing to peacefully address relevant disputes with countries concerned including the Philippines through consultation and negotiation, explore possible ways for pragmatic cooperation with them in the South China Sea and turn it into the sea of peace, friendship and cooperation," the Chinese official said.

RELATED: Beijing commends Duterte for commitment to bilateral ties

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