China’s Xi to visit PH next week

By Jelly Musico

November 15, 2018, 6:07 pm

MANILA -- Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a two-day state visit to the Philippines on Nov. 20-21 this year, Malacañang announced on Thursday.

“The Palace wishes to announce the forthcoming State Visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo said Xi’s visit, the first of a Chinese President in 13 years, was upon the invitation of President Rodrigo Duterte.

During the state visit, Panelo said Duterte and Xi will exchange views on areas of mutual concern and chart the course for the future of Philippines-China bilateral relations.

Panelo said he has no idea whether major agreements between the Philippines and China will be signed during Xi’s visit.

“None that I know but I think he is going over to the Philippines with a good opportunity to discuss certain issues that requires attention,” Panelo said in a media interview in Singapore where Duterte is attending the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

In previous media interview, Panelo said Duterte intends to invite the Chinese leader to his home in Davao City.

The Philippines-China relations had achieved positive turnaround since Duterte embarked on his first state visit to China in October 2016.

Xi had described Duterte’s first visit to Beijing as a "milestone" that mended the two countries’ ties derailed by the Philippines’ filing of arbitration case against China in 2013.

In July 2016, the Hague-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) nullified China’s nine-dash line map which covers nearly the entire West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.

Duterte shelved the PCA’s ruling after China rejected the verdict to allow peaceful and friendly settlement of the dispute.

In May 2017, Duterte returned to Beijing to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

For the third time, Duterte went to China in April this year to attend the Boao Forum for Asia held in Hainan, a southern island province of China.

Xi's first trip to the Philippines will take place a year after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Manila that led to the signing of 14 deals on infrastructures, climate change, defense cooperation, drug rehabilitation centers and Marawi rehabilitation. (PNA)