Sunday, November 29, 2020

Duterte to hold bilateral meet with Xi this month


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President Rodrigo Duterte will be visiting China again to hold another dialogue with Chinese President Xi Jinping this month, Malacañang spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

In a radio interview, Panelo on Sunday said the bilateral meeting would be held between the two parties on tabled issues during President Duterte’s “working visit.”

While other details of the visit are still being worked out, including the date of the trip, the Palace spokesman added that the two leaders were expected to discuss issues surrounding bilateral mechanisms and relations.

“Magkakaroon ng bilateral talks with President Xi and, most likely, kung ano ‘yung issues na kailangang pag-usapan, ‘yun ang nakalatag sa lamesa (There will be bilateral talks with President Xi and, most likely, certain issues that need to be urgently addressed are on the table),” Panelo said in an interview over Radyo Inquirer.

“Siguro lahat ng suliranin, pati na rin’yung dating pinag-uusapan sa trade relations, cultural exchanges, people-to-people [relations], mga tulong na binibigay ng China, mga tulong na kailangan (Perhaps this would include what they previously agreed upon in terms of trade relations, cultural exchanges, people-to-people relations, the aid provided by China and other means of assistance needed),” he added.

Panelo said all relevant issues would be discussed, likely including the diplomatic protest filed by the Philippine government against China over the presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa (Thitu) Island in the disputed South China (West Philippine) Sea.

Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Duterte’s former top aide, recently bared in an interview that the President’s trip would likely take place by the end of August.

Aside from the slated dialogue with Xi, Duterte is also reportedly planning to watch the FIBA World Cup in Foshan City to watch the game of Gilas Pilipinas, the Philippines’ national basketball team.

“The President also plans to watch the FIBA World Cup. This is a rare opportunity for him. It’s been a long while since the Philippines qualified for the FIBA World Cup. It’s the first time in 50 years,” Go said in a chance interview last week.

This will be Duterte’s fifth visit to China since he assumed office in 2016.

His last state visit happened in April amid controversies surrounding the administration’s non-confrontational stance on disputed territories in the South China Sea and its “friendly” attitude toward China.

Since Duterte assumed the presidency, the legal victory of the Philippines on its maritime case against Beijing has been set aside, even after an international arbitral tribunal had decided that China had no legal basis to claim historic rights to resources within maritime areas in disputed waters falling within the “nine-dash line.”



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