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Xi calls Duterte

Chinese President Xi Jinping had a “very cordial” telephone conversation with President Duterte Wednesday.

Xi made the call a few days after United States President Donald Trump’s.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Xi and Duterte exchanged views about regional developments and how some concerns can be addressed during conversation.

Xi particularly noted that, at present, China and the Philippines are deepening political mutual trust and carrying out cooperation in various fields and noted that a channel of dialogue and consultation on the South China Sea issue has also been set up.

The Chinese President urged all relevant parties to exercise restraint and return to the right track of dialogue and negotiations on the existing territorial disputes between Manila and Beijing over South China Sea.

He said China is also willing to see the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ active role in securing regional peace and stability.

The two leaders also exchanged views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Xi said China firmly stands for the realization of a denuclearized peninsula and for the maintenance of its peace and stability, saying the issue should be solved through dialogue and consultations.

The Chinese leader also called on China and the Philippines to promote their pragmatic cooperation in all fields to better benefit the two countries and peoples.

He said China appreciates the Philippines’ key role in boosting cooperation in East Asia along the right direction as the rotating presidency of the ASEAN.

Xi welcomed Duterte to attend the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation from May 14 to 15 in Beijing, saying he looks forward to meeting with the Philippine President again. (Roy C. Mabasa)