LIMA, Peru – President Duterte held a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting here Saturday.
The meeting was requested by Xi to follow through the memoranda of understanding signed by the Philippines and China during the Philippine leader’s state visit to China recently.
In a statement, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said that the two countries can now fasttrack trade and economic relations with vigorous talks currently underway.
“I am very happy to report that we are on track on this one and we will be pushing for more vigorous talks for the purpose of implementation the broad strokes that we have arrived at when we signed these MoUs,” Yasay said.
“We’re very happy that China is as enthusiastic as the Philippines in making sure that the trade and economic relationships that we would like to foster would be fast tracked,” Yasay added.
Duterte and Xi touched on the plight of Filipino fishermen in Scarborough or Panatag Shoal. The Chinese leader assured that the fishermen will continue to have free access to their traditional fishing grounds apart from offering them training such as fish culture to sustain their livelihood and families.
“The Chinese have offered our fishermen opportunities for them to develop and train to make sure that their livelihood as fishermen will be strongly supported and they will be able to engage themselves in the culturing of fishes that will sustain their families and their livelihood,” Yasay said.
The Philippine side assured the Chinese that any actions it would take on the South China Sea issue will be precisely to just simply promote the country’s interests.
“We spoke a little bit about the South China Sea disputes not for the purpose of resolving them now but I think most of the conversation along that line was an expression of good will in the area of jurisdiction. Territorial ownership and sovereignty will be set aside in the meantime until a solution is in sight in the future,” Yasay said.
They also discussed the agricultural sector and the beefing up of China’s imports of agricultural products.
They also talked about the lifting of the travel ban of Chinese tourists to the Philippines, the invitation of Duterte for Xi to visit the country which the latter accepted, and China’s hosting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Conference where he invited the Philippines as a participant.