MANILA - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday said he is "full of expectations" and looks forward to "in-depth discussions" with President Duterte when he visits the Philippines this week.
In a statement a day before his arrival, Xi said the main goal of his trip is to take the relationship between Beijing and Manila to a higher level "under new circumstances."
"I am visiting this time mainly to have in-depth discussions with President Duterte on how to elevate our all-round cooperation under new circumstances and make overall plan for greater progress in our relationship toward a higher level," he said.
Xi also cites the need for a deeper political mutual trust, enhanced practical cooperation, stronger people-to-people ties, and deeper cooperation with East Asian nations.
Xi will be in the Philippines on Tuesday and Wednesday for a state visit, the first of a Chinese president in 13 years.
Xi said the current relationship between China and the Philippines is seeing "a rainbow after the rain," especially after Duterte took office in 2016, as he highlights the need to "properly handle differences" on the South China Sea dispute to make it "a sea of peace."
He also praised the "unique geographical advantage" of the Philippines that makes it a "natural partner" for China's Belt and Road Initiative.
"We need to promote interactions between our political parties, parliaments, think tanks and at the local level," the Chinese President added.
He said Duterte's "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure push and China's "dream of great national renewal" are shared aspirations that continues to forge a close bond between the two nations.
"In just a little more than two years, China has become the Philippines’ largest trading partner, largest export market and largest source of imports, and the second largest source of tourists," he said.
Xi said China continues to support the Duterte administration's war on drugs and its fight against terrorism, especially in the reconstruction efforts in Marawi.
The Chinese President, invited by Duterte, will be in Manila for a 2-day visit starting Monday.