Xiâs here: Chinese president arrives in Manila for first state visit
Add to cart Print Share this document Chinese President Xi Jinping waves as he arrives at Manila international airport on November 20, 2018. Xi is on his first state visit to the Philippines, a traditional US ally that is a key prize as Beijing and Washington jostle for supremacy in the Pacif
AFP/Ted Aljibe
Xi’s here: Chinese president arrives in Manila for first state visit
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - November 20, 2018 - 12:01pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 12:16 p.m.) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has landed at the Ninoy Aquino Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on mid-day of Tuesday to kick-off his first state visit in the country.

Xi arrived at the airport at around 11:50 a.m. aboard Air China.

He was greeted by a welcoming body that includes Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Carlito Galvez Jr. and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, among others.

Xi, named by the Forbes magazine as this year’s most powerful man in the planet, is the second head of state to conduct a state visit to Duterte. This is also the first state visit of a Chinese president in 13 years.

Xi is expected to begin his two-day state visit in the country with a wreath-laying ceremony at Rizal Park late this afternoon followed by the anticipated expanded bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet members at the Malacañan.

The two leaders, however, met several times in international events including the recently concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation World Leaders’ Summit in Papua New Guinea.

Duterte, known for his pivot to China as he veers away from longtime ally the United States, had a state visit to Beijing in October 2016. He also attended the Belt and Road Forum in China last May 2017 and went to the Boao Forum in April this year.

In 2016, Duterte sealed an estimated $24 billion investment and loan pledges from China.

Presidential spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the two leaders may talk about the loan and investment pledges during the state visit of Xi.

Xi last visited Manila in November 2015 when he attended the APEC under then-President Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino III.

The Chinese leader is also the general secretary of the Communist Party of China and the chair of the Central Military Commission.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 22, 2018 - 7:38pm

Former Deputy Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada calls on Filipinos to "help the administration be alert and protect the national interest" ahead of the scheduled visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.

"This is an 'All Hands on Deck' situation, because our sovereignty is on the line. There are issues on Filipino jobs, public debt, and national territory to be agreed on that will affect us all for generations to come," Tañada says in a statement.

Xi is set to visit from Tuesday, November 20, to Wednesday, November 21. His visit signals 13 years since the last state visit of a Chinese president during the Arroyo administration.

"We know that the Chinese heads of state are shrewd negotiators and they will not waste this visit without closing key agreements. The last time we had a visit from China—President Hu Jintao in 2005—they were able to extract the highly questionable Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) from President Arroyo. We do not want a repeat of that or give up more of our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea," the Liberal Party senatorial candidate says.

Tañada, who is a senatorial aspirant, says he himself will be watching for any agreements relating to loans and the protection of Filipino jobs, "in view of information that while 6 million Filipinos are unemployed, the government also permitted the entry of more than 3 million Chinese workers in the last two years."

November 22, 2018 - 7:38pm

Chinese President Xi Jinping has written President Rodrigo Duterte to extend his gratitude for the friendship and hospitality extended to him during his state visit to Manila.

"During my visit, I had talks with you, and held meetings with House Speaker Gloria Arroyo and Senate President Vicente Sotto III. We had in-depth exchange of views, reached important agreement on our bilateral relations and issues of shared interest, and witness the signing of a series of cooperation documents. I am truly pleased with the fruitful outcomes of this visit," he says in a letter released by the Chinese Embassy.

"During the visit, I was once again deeply touched by your sincerity and determination to grow our bilateral relations and by the friendly sentiment of the Philippine people toward the Chinese people. I am also deeply impressed by your insight into China-Philippines relations and the current international situation, which proves once again that China and the Philippines are partners in a common journey toward peace and development," Xi also says in his letter.

"I set great store by China-Philippines relations and value my personal friendship with you, Mr. President. I will work with you to strengthen political mutual trust and deepen practical cooperation in all fields so that the tree of China-Philippines friendship will grow more luxuriant and bear more fruits."

November 20, 2018 - 2:36pm

The camp of Sen. Antonio Trillanes releases a copy of the supposed China draft of the framework for the joint oil exploration deal with the Philippines.

The draft says that the two countries have agreed to conduct joint explorations for oil and gas in the South China Sea "[in] accordance with the principles of mutual respect, fairness and mutual benefit, flexibility and pragmatism and consensus."

The draft also states that the joint deal "shall not affect" the position on sovereignty and maritime rights and interests of the two countries in the disputed sea.

China claims it has historic rights over virtually the entire resource-rich South China Sea based on the "nine-dash line," which was invalidated in 2016 in the winning case of the Philippines against the Asian giant before an international tribunal in the Hague. 

This proposed framework, however, is likely to face a legal hurdle in the Philippines due to questions on sovereignty and its implications on the Hague ruling. 

Under Article XII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, the "exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the [Philippine] State."

November 20, 2018 - 12:07pm

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

November 20, 2018 - 9:10am

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay says President Rodrigo Duterte has rolled out the red carpet for China’s rule over the West Philippine Sea with Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the Philippines.

He adds that the proposed joint exploration deal between the Philippines and China is illegal and unconstitutional. The terms for a joint exploration deal with China and the proposed lifting of the oil exploration ban in the disputed waters are expected to be discussed during Xi's visit.

"Our victory meant we could uphold our economic sovereignty and have full control over the resources in that area which, according to the 2016 Hague ruling, is not shared with China. Under our Constitution, it constitutes part of our national territory.  But a joint agreement with China is essentially a waiver of the decision in Philippines v. China. For Duterte to bargain this away and let China have their own way over our natural resources is a complete betrayal of the trust that the Filipino people gave him in May 2016," the former solicitor general added. ##

As the main agent in the 2013 case against China's claim over virtually the entire South China Sea, it was Hilbay's task to convince the tribunal that it has jurisdiction under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to hear the sea dispute.

The Philippines won the case against China in 2016.

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