MANILA - Disputes in the South China Sea are not likely to be discussed when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jin Ping meet at the Boao Forum for Asia in China this week.
Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said both countries have agreed to discuss issues related to the disputed waters through their bilateral consultative mechanism which is held twice a year.
Batongbacal said the two leaders are likely to talk about infrastructure projects and even the reconstruction of war-ravaged Marawi City. The Philippine government earlier announced that it is in talks with a China-led consortium for the Marawi rehabilitation.
"It seems that given recent events here in the Philippines, they'd probably take the opportunity to talk about the reconstruction of Marawi. That's one item that comes to mind. And also to speed up all these infrastructure promises," he told ANC Sunday.
Duterte will be in China from April 9 to 10 to attend the Boao Forum for Asia, also known as Asia's answer to the annual World Economic Forum hosted in Switzerland. He will meet with Xi on the sidelines of the event.
From China, Duterte will go to Hong Kong for a working visit.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello earlier said the Philippines and China will iron out a bilateral agreement on the deployment of 100,000 Filipino teachers in the forum. He said China needs 100,000 English teachers, who could earn as much as $1,500 (P78,000) per month.