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Duterte, Xi meeting on April 8 to be virtual

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Duterte, Xi meeting on April 8 to be virtual
“Last night President Rodrigo Duterte himself announced that he will have a meeting with the officials of China. What we know is this will be an online meeting this coming April 8,” acting deputy presidential spokesman Michel Kristian Ablan told a press briefing.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The meeting between President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 8 will be held virtually, Malacañang confirmed yesterday.

“Last night President Duterte himself announced that he will have a meeting with the officials of China. What we know is this will be an online meeting this coming April 8,” acting deputy presidential spokesman Michel Kristian Ablan told a press briefing.

Ablan said it was the government of China that initiated the meeting.

The Palace official, however, could not confirm whether Duterte would raise the West Philippine Sea issue and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis with China’s leader.

“Insofar as we are concerned this meeting is still in the preparatory stage so with regard to the issues and matters that will be discussed by the world leaders, we will find out in the coming days,” Ablan said.

Duterte earlier admitted being worried about a possible spillover of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia to the Philippines.

During a meeting of the regional anti-insurgency task force in Cebu on Thursday, Duterte said there would be “serious trouble” if the Ukraine crisis escalates into a nuclear war.

“China will not just sit idly there, it will respond and it will seize Taiwan,” the President said.

“We do not have weapons, after all, we are part of it. China is good, I’m scheduled to... is it on the eighth? April 8. Xi Jinping wants to talk to me. We are friends,” he said.

The Philippines lodged a diplomatic protest against Beijing over the recent “close distance maneuvering” of Chinese Coast Guard ships with a Filipino vessel on March 2.

XI JINPING

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