MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, may do a "general review" of bilateral relations during the Filipino leader's visit to China, Manila's chief envoy to Beijing said Wednesday.
The West Philippine Sea is a "major concern" for the two countries, said Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago "Chito" Sta. Romana.
Duterte is expected in Beijing later Wednesday for Xi's second Belt and Road infrastructure forum.
"From previous experience, the 2 leaders usually do a general review of bilateral relations including the situation of the South China Sea and our concerns on the West Philippine Sea," he told ANC.
The West Philippine sea has been a subject of “very intense diplomatic discussion,” he said.
"The basic approach is to discuss the issue and to manage it so that they will not become, they will not turn into a crisis and also to manage it so that It would not be an obstacle to the development of areas of cooperation," Sta. Romana said.
"The real issue is how to avoid any miscalculation, how to avoid any conflict and how to deescalate and exercise restraint so that the issue will not become a crisis so that it will not become an issue that will obstruct the positive trajectory of the relations," he added.
The Philippines and China could sign up to 5 bilateral deals during the visit, Foreign Affairs Asec. Meynardo Montealegre earlier said.