In a press briefing at Malacañang, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre said the President’s trip to China would be aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.
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Duterte’s China visit to tackle bilateral relations, sea row
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - August 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Keen on asserting the Philippines’ rights over the West Philippine Sea, President Duterte will push through with his working visit to Beijing from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1, the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

In a press briefing at Malacañang, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre said the President’s trip to China would be aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.  

He added that Duterte’s bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping would focus on the accomplishments and shared goals of the Philippines and China under Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation. 

“President Duterte looks forward to exchanging views with President Xi on how to accelerate the pace of our functional cooperation in terms of concrete projects as well as on issues of mutual interest to both countries,” Montealegre said. 

The visit marks the eighth meeting of the two presidents since 2016.

According to Montealegre, both leaders will also witness the signing of a number of cooperative bilateral documents and memoranda of understanding, which are “all aimed to further increase the breadth and depth of our cooperation between the Philippines and China.”

Duterte’s visit came in the wake of the administration’s demonstration of “hard stance” versus Beijing, with the President insisting on the joint exploration of the disputed areas at the South China Sea, enforcement of the UN arbitral ruling and his warning against foreign vessels’ incursions in Philippine territorial waters. 

While on the trip, Duterte would also go to Guangzhou City to cheer on the Gilas Pilipinas basketball team as it competes in the FIBA World Cup against the Italian team on Aug. 31. 

While in Guangdong province, officials said Duterte would receive a call from Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.

“The President and Vice President Wang are expected to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation, increase trade and investment, and deepen the friendship between our countrymen and the people of Guangdong,” Montealegre said. 

But Duterte’s side trip to Fujian province to supposedly inaugurate a school building in honor of his late mother, Soledad, was postponed due to logistical issues.

 “For this particular visit there was a plan, and then the recommendation now is to move it to a later date because it is more appropriate to be done at a later date and not at this particular time,” said chief of presidential protocol Robert Eric Borje.

“It’s a decision that’s made mutually. It’s been postponed. We’re going to work on the plans. As to the dates we will have to work on it. There are certain things that need to be done further,” he added.

In an event earlier this month, it was Duterte who announced that he would inaugurate a school building during his China trip. However, Borje explained that back then the President’s schedule has yet to be finalized. 

“If you may know, during this type of visits we go over different types of scenarios and different types of destinations and until such time that these are confirmed and announced to the public, nothing is really confirmed,” Borje said.

CHINA DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS XI JINPING
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