By Prince Golez
Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest trip to China, his fifth since assuming office in June 2016, was “successful and highly productive.”
His just concluded four-day visit pursued strategic partnerships between the two countries involved in a maritime dispute, said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo Sunday.
“Much has been gained for the Philippine nation through the President’s untiring efforts, sound and practical approaches, as well as measured and prudent responses in managing the conflict involving the West Philippine Sea (WPS),” Panelo also said.
Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on August 29 where they had “frank exchanges” in related to territorial disputes in the WPS.
Panelo noted that both nations agreed to exercise self-restrain and observe the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, particularly freedom of navigation in and overflight above the WPS.
China, he added, firmly supported the immediate need of a legally binding code of conduct to avoid provocative acts that may impair ties and threaten the peace and stability of the region.
“Further, the two leaders recognize that despite any dispute that our countries may have, the same can always be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiations, specially given the centuries old familial ties between our nations,” according to him.
Duterte and Xi acknowledged that the bilateral relations between the Philippines and China have a “much wider horizon, and there are vast frontiers where our nations can cooperate and assist each other for their mutual benefit, such as in the fields of education, health, agriculture, science and technology, security, trade, investments, energy, and people to people and cultural exchanges.”
Six agreements in the field of education, science and technology, and economy were signed between the two countries during Duterte’s visit to the Chinese capital.
Panelo said the President then conveyed that he is merely a public servant who is fulfilling his commitment and constitutional duty to serve and protect the sovereign Filipino people and provide them with a peaceful and comfortable life.