MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday paid tribute to China's Communist Party as its celebrated its centenary, adding that the Manila trusts Beijing would "use its newfound strength in defense of what is good and just for all humanity."
Duterte joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) and World Political Parties Summit via video link. Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, attended the summit in Beijing.
"We join you in celebrating this important milestone marking a century of CPC’s visionary leadership," Duterte said in a speech at the summit.
The CPC, he said, "oversaw China’s extraordinary rise to prosperity, lifting over 800 million Chinese out of extreme poverty and driving a global growth in the process."
"This is a unique achievement by any standard... Indeed the sleeping dragon no more, China has realized its dream of progress and prosperity for its people. With this came great power and equally immense responsibility," said Duterte.
"Therefore, we won’t be any turning back. China’s risen and will play an important role in the global affairs for decades to come."
While the world faces "tremendous challenges", including COVID-19, climate change, and various security threats, "we also glean many opportunities from greater cooperation and solidarity," Duterte said.
The Filipino leader thanked the Chinese government for its "timely assistance", which he said "helped the Philippines contain the COVID-19 pandemic and restart its economy."
The Philippines and China "must sustain our constructive dialogue and peaceful engagement," Duterte said.
"This is crucial as the bilateral relations between our two countries expand and deepen. We count on China as a friend and a partner for peace and development. We trust in the collective wisdom of the great Chinese nation, that China will use its newfound strength in defense of what is good and just for all humanity," said the President.
"After all we exist in one global village, our destines are inextricably linked with each other, peace and prosperity therefore must be shared and enjoyed by all," he said.
Beijing disregards an arbitral ruling that junked its claims to about 90 percent of the South China Sea, within which is the smaller West Philippine Sea.
The previous administration of the late Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III pursued the case before a United Nations-backed court after China seized Scarborough Shoal in the resource-rich waterway.
Duterte has refused to press China to follow the ruling, as he sought loans and investments from the economic giant.
But the maritime dispute flared again in March this year after hundreds of Chinese ships swarmed Philippine waters, prompting Manila to lodge a series of diplomatic protests against Beijing.
Duterte in May called the Philippine arbitral victory a scrap of "paper" that he said could be thrown into a wastebasket. He later said he would not pull back Philippine ships from contested waters.