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Xi Jinping in Manila on Nov. 20-21, 2018
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Xi’s visit from Nov. 20 to 21 would allow him and President Duterte to discuss issues related to the bilateral ties between Manila and Beijing.
Krizjohn Rosales

Xi Jinping in Manila on Nov. 20-21, 2018

Alexis Romero, Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - November 16, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit the Philippines next week as China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) continue to craft a code of conduct in the disputed South China Sea.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Xi’s visit from Nov. 20 to 21 would allow him and President Duterte to discuss issues related to the bilateral ties between Manila and Beijing.

“Upon the invitation of President Duterte, Chinese President Xi Jinping will undertake a state visit to the Philippines from 20-21 November 2018.  It will be the first state visit of a Chinese president in 13 years,” Panelo said in a statement.

“During the state visit, the two leaders will exchange views on areas of mutual concern and chart the course for the future of Philippines-China bilateral relations,” he added.

China claims about 90 percent of the resource-rich South China Sea but this is being contested by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

An arbitral tribunal based in The Hague invalidated in 2016 China’s expansive maritime claim, but Beijing has refused to recognize the ruling, which stemmed from a complaint filed by the Philippines five years ago.

The ruling did not stop China from occupying and building structures in disputed areas. The Asian power has built artificial islands on seven reefs within Philippine territory, namely Panganiban (Mischief), Zamora (Subi), Kagitingan (Fiery Cross), Kennan (Chigua), Mabini (Johnson South), Burgos (Gaven) and Calderon (Cuarteron).

Reports said the islands contain military structures, worrying neighboring countries about the development’s effect on freedom of flight and navigation in the area.

Duterte had made it clear he would rather set aside the ruling and seek rapport with China.

At the same time, the Philippine leader has also urged China to “temper” its behavior in the South China Sea to avoid friction with the United States, a traditional ally of the Philippines.

At the ASEAN-China summit in Singapore last Wednesday, Duterte said an agreement on a code of conduct in the South China Sea should be reached “at all costs.”

At the same event, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang expressed hope that a code of conduct would be completed in three years.

ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS SOUTH CHINA SEA XI JINPING
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