Duterte, Xi hail 'everlasting friendship' on 46th anniversary of Philippines-China diplomatic ties

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Duterte, Xi hail 'everlasting friendship' on 46th anniversary of Philippines-China diplomatic ties
In this Nov. 20, 2018 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping declare their joint press statements following the successful expanded bilateral meeting at the Malacañan Palace.
Presidential Photo / Richard Madelo

MANILA, Philippines — As the Philippines and China celebrate the 46th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, Chinese President Xi Jinping highlighted the "everlasting friendship" between the two nations.

In a letter addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte dated June 9, the Chinese leader stressed that the two countries are "friendly neighbors with time-honored friendship."

Xi also conveyed his best wishes to the Philippines ahead of the country's 123rd anniversary of independence on June 12.

"In recent years, with concerted efforts of both sides, China-Philippines relations have maintained healthy and stable development, bringing tangible benefits to our two peoples," Xi said.

Xi pointed out how the two countries assisted each other amid the COVID-19 oubreak, which first emerged in China's Wuhan province in December 2019.

"I attach great significance to the development of China-Philippines relations, and stand ready to work with you in guiding our bilateral relations to move forward in a sustained and steady manner, so as to achieve greater win-win results and mutual benefits," Xi told Duterte.

For his part, Duterte said the "win-win cooperation" between the two countries will ensure "a partnership for greater peace, progress and prosperity.

The Philippine leader highlighted the "bond" between the Filipino and Chinese people that predate the establishment of diplomatic relations 46 years ago.

"Thank you... to the federation for being a partner in promoting economic, cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the Philippines and China," Duterte said at an online forum celebrating the 46th anniversary of the Philippines-China relations.

China's top diplomat also wrote a letter to his Philippine counterpart, echoing Xi's position of standing ready to work with each other.

In a letter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted how the relations between the two countries developed under the Duterte administration.

"I stand ready to work with you to fully implement the important consensus between the Heads of States of our two countries to fight against COVID-19 pandemic hand in hand, constantly deepen cooperation, and effectively manage differences, so as to promote faster and better development of the China-Philippines Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Relationship," Wang told Locsin.

The Philippines currently sits as country coordinator of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China while the countries finalize the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea.

Beijing claims sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea, which overlaps with the claims of some ASEAN countries, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

China also continues to reject the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated its nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

When Duterte assumed office in June 2016, he announced that he would set aside the arbitral ruling to seek stronger ties with China. — with report from Bella Perez-Rubio






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