China’s Xi to visit PH on Nov. 20-21 - Palace

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 15 2018 04:15 PM | Updated as of Nov 15 2018 07:19 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte is accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping prior to the start of the dinner hosted by the latter at the Boao State Guesthouse on April 10, 2018. Ace Morandante, Presidential Photo

MANILA - (UPDATE) Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in the Philippines for a State Visit on No. 20-21, the Palace confirmed Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Xi’s visit to the Philippines will be the first State Visit of a Chinese President in 13 years.

The last Chinese President to hold a state visit to the Philippines was Hu Jintao in April 2005.

“During the State Visit, the two Leaders will exchange views on areas of mutual concern and chart the course for the future of Philippines-China bilateral relations,” Panelo said in a statement.

President Rodrigo Duterte first invited Xi to visit the Philippines during his state visit to China in October 2016, something which the Chinese leader “accepted with pleasure.”

The President renewed his invitation to Xi on the sidelines of the APEC leaders’ meeting in Lima, Peru last November 2016.

Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said Xi's upcoming visit would boost the "Golden Age of China-Philippines relations."

"We have every reason to believe that this visit will enormously boost China-Philippines relations in the new era, position our relations as a new model of international relations and further contribute to the building of a community of shared future for mankind," he said in a statement.

"Standing at a new and crucial historical juncture, China and the Philippines are bound to build stronger strategic mutual trust, perform deeper economic cooperation and trade, and nurture closer people-to-people exchanges," he added.

Xi made his last visit to the Philippines in November 2015 to attend the APEC leaders’ meeting. The Philippine president at that time was Benigno Aquino III, who hailed China to a United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal over the South China Sea dispute and won.

Duterte has opted to downplay the Philippines’ maritime dispute with China in pursuit of improved economic ties with the world’s second-largest economy.

The President, nonetheless, said despite his government’s rapprochement with China, he will never surrender the country’s claims to the sea and will bring up at the appropriate time Manila’s arbitration victory against Beijing.