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China visit called ‘turning point’

President Duterte said yesterday that his four-day state visit to China was a “turning point” in the shared history of the two countries.

“My state visit to China signaled a turning point in our shared history and showed that both countries are fully capable of working together for mutual beneficial cooperation even as we remain committed to settle disputes peacefully, in full adherence of international law,” the Chief Executive said in a press conference shortly after his arrival at the Davao City international airport.

During his stay in China from October 18 to 21, Duterte met President Xi Jinping and three other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party – Premier Li Keqiang, Chairman of the National People’s Congress Zhang Dejiang, and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

In his meetings, the Chief Executive said they had productive and extensive discussions on the full range of Chinese-Philippine relations, from trade and investments, infrastructure and tourism, to science and technology and health.

And to realize the vision of a deeper and more meaningful engagement, Duterte said they have opened formal lines of communications between two governments and agreed on the full resumption of the regular bilateral consultations mechanisms which were put on hold for several years.

Duterte added that with security and stability recognized as necessary conditions for growth, the Philippines and China affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, freedom of navigation, and over flight in the South China Sea. “We also agreed to continue discussions on confidence-building measures, including a bilateral consultation mechanism to discuss immediate issues of concern in South China Sea,” he told reporters. (Elena L. Aben)