MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday renewed their commitment to further boost the relations between the Philippines and China to ensure the two nations’ recovery from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The two leaders made the vow during their “warm, open, and productive” phone call that lasted 45 minutes, the Office of the President (OP) said in a statement issued late Friday night.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China reaffirmed once again the importance of the enduring friendship and Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation between the Philippines and China, in a telesummit held on 27 August 2021,” the OP said.
Duterte, the Palace said, told Xi about the Philippines’ resolve to strengthen its bilateral ties with China, particularly in trade and investment and infrastructure development.
He also emphasized the need for enhanced economic cooperation to hasten the two countries’ post-pandemic recovery, it said.
"Asia's dynamic future depends on how hard we all work together, how we respect each other, and how we ensure that we as nations are mindful not just of our rights but of our responsibilities," Duterte, as quoted by the OP, told Xi.
Malacañang said the President also expressed hope for increased Chinese investments in key sectors, such as agriculture, fisheries, information and communications technology, and science and technology.
It added that Duterte told Xi that he is grateful to China for assisting the Philippines in its Covid-19 response, and is optimistic about the two nations’ greater collaboration in the public health sector, particularly in vaccine development and production.
Duterte, the OP said, likewise expressed appreciation for China's support for his administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, noting the recent completion of the Beijing-funded Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge.
“President Duterte noted that the Philippines looks forward to the early completion of ongoing infrastructure projects and China's continued support for landmark projects, including the flood control projects in Mindanao, Pasig Marikina River bridges, Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project, and Subic-Clark Railway Project,” it said.
The Palace said Duterte also told Xi that improving bilateral processes would facilitate the immediate implementation of bilateral projects between the Philippines and China.
“Presidents Duterte and Xi likewise discussed regional and global developments, noting the possible implications on the Asia-Pacific,” it said.
Xi, in turn, assured Duterte that China will continue to foster a "principled friendship" with the Philippines, as well as strengthen the two countries' comprehensive partnership, the OP said.
“For his part, President Xi thanked President Duterte whom he considers ‘a good friend and colleague’ for the inspiring remarks at the World Political Parties Summit (WPPS) held in July 2021, and for his vital role in putting China-Philippines relations back on track,” Malacañang said.
Echoing Duterte's remarks at the WPPS that "we live in one global village" with a common destiny, Xi also emphasized that China is prepared to seize opportunities “to advance the cause of peace and prosperity for the whole of humanity together with the Philippines,” the Palace said.
It said Xi told Duterte that the two countries’ cooperation in countering terrorism would also be sustained.
Xi likewise guaranteed that China, honoring its promise to its friends, is ready to work with the Philippines to make sure that all bilateral projects come to fruition.
“In particular, China will continue to support the administration's ‘Build, Build, Build’ program, as well as the government's ongoing efforts to defeat Covid-19, including through a possible joint collaboration on vaccine development and production, President Xi elaborated,” the OP said.
Xi, it said, also ensured the delivery of more rice donations to the Philippines “in the near future.”
The Chinese leader’s assurance is part of his commitment in 2018 to donate a total of 10,000 metric tons of rice.
About 5,275 metric tons of rice have already been delivered to the Philippines. (PNA)