CHINESE President Xi Jinping is hoping that the Philippines and China will have better ties under a Duterte administration amid a bitter territorial row in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Xi’s statement was issued by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs late Monday afetr the proclamation of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been vocal about resuming bilateral negotiations with the Asian giant.
“[I] hope both sides can work hard to push Sino-Philippine relations back onto a healthy development track,” Xi said.
Beijing and Manila has had strained relations since the standoff in 2012 between a Philippine warship and Chinese surveillance vessels in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.
The tension escalated when the Philippines filed a memorial against China at the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration.
In seeking better ties, the Chinese leader noted that Manila and Beijing had a rich history of friendly exchanges and deep traditional friendship.
“The friendly, stable and healthy development of Sino-Philippine relations accords with the basic interests of both countries and both peoples,” Xi said, adding that both countries have the responsibility to deepen cooperation.
Earlier, Duterte told Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua that he is willing to improve and develop the country’s relationship with China.
Meanwhile, the Singapore Embassy in Manila also disclosed that President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have written a congratulatory letter to Duterte.
Tan noted that the Philippines and Singapore are “old friends with strong ties.”
“Our countries cooperate closely in Asean and internationally, including at the United Nations, to promote peace, stability and prosperity. During my State Visit in April 2014, my wife and I were impressed by the economic progress of the Philippines and the resilience of the residents of Tacloban [City] as they worked to rehabilitate their hometowns from the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda,” part of the letter read.
While Duterte has been criticized by the local business community for his lack of economic agenda, the Singaporean President still expressed confidence that the new administration “will lead the Philippine economy to greater heights.”
“I wish you success as you embark on your new role, and look forward to meeting you soon. I would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to visit Singapore at the earliest opportunity,” he said.
Lee expressed hopes that the Philippines and Singapore will be able to strengthen diplomatic ties.
“Singapore and the Philippines share close ties spanning many sectors, including trade and investment, culture and people-to-people exchanges,” Lee said.