Duterte arrives in Beijing for Belt and Road Forum

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 13 2017 11:36 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday arrived in Beijing to attend the "Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation," where at least 28 heads of states will discuss China's plan to establish railways and sea routes across Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Duterte arrived in the Chinese capital at 11:20 p.m., from Hong Kong where he met with overseas Filipino workers.

Duterte and his economic managers are expected to look for "areas of convergence" between his administration's 10-point socioeconomic agenda and Chinese President Xi Jinping's "Belt and Road Initiative," Philippine ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana said in a press conference in Beijing.

"This will be an opportunity for the Philippines to understand more (about) the projects involved. It's also an opportunity to seek and explore how our country can use this initiative to promote our economic development in a sustainable way," Sta. Romana said.

Duterte and Xi are also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the forum.

"As for the bilateral talks, it's (about) how to expedite the different agreements that were signed last October particularly in the field of economics and infrastructure," Sta. Romana said.

The envoy, however, declined to disclose if new agreements between the Philippines and China will be signed during Duterte's three-day stay in the Chinese capital.

"I am not in a position right now to reveal anything... (but) they will review the progress of relations since the president's visit last October," Sta. Romana said.

Duterte's attendance in the Beijing forum marks the Filipino leader's second visit to China barely a year after assuming the presidency.

Duterte has carried out a U-turn in the Philippines' foreign policy since assuming office last year, making overtures toward China while berating Manila's traditional ally, the United States.