MANILA - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang left the Philippines Thursday after a summit of world leaders and an official visit that marked warming ties between Manila and Beijing.
Li, who participated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in the capital, departed Manila around noon with full military honors.
He was the only ASEAN delegate who received departure honors at Ninoy Aquino International Airport as the regional summit coincided with his official visit.
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, airport manager Ed Monreal, and Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua saw Li and his delegation to their jet.
Before Li left, Chinese leaders agreed with ASEAN to start negotiations on a code of conduct on the South China Sea.
Almost all of the South China Sea, one of the world's busiest waterways, is claimed by China. Taiwan and 4 ASEAN nations - Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei - have competing claims.
Last year a UN-backed tribunal rejected Beijing's economic claims to most of the waters, but China continues to reject the ruling. Manila has yet to push for the enforcement of the ruling and, under President Rodrigo Duterte, set it aside in exchange for investments and financial aid.
The Philippines and China on Wednesday signed 14 agreements aimed at improving bilateral ties, which Li brought in his visit to Malacañang.
Li said China would provide P1.15 billion for the rehabilitation of Marawi, which has been largely reduced to rubble after the 5-month terrorist siege there ended last month.
Li was the first Chinese premier to visit the country in over 10 years. With Zhander Cayabyab, ABS-CBN News