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Duterte returns to China for Belt and Road Forum

President Duterte is expected to push for closer economic linkages with China and other trading partners when he returns to Beijing this week.

The President is scheduled to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on May 14 and 15. He will join 27 other heads of states and dozens of government and business executives for the forum focused on promoting infrastructure development.

Before flying to Beijing, the President will travel to Cambodia for the World Economic Forum for ASEAN on May 10, followed by Hong Kong from May 11 to 13.

“The President’s foreign engagements will be focused on securing the national interest,” Robespierre Bolivar, spokesman of the Department of Foreign Affairs, said.

“Anything that can help the Philippines in its economic development is very welcome and we believe that the Belt and Road initiative can be a helpful mechanism for the Philippines to promote its economic interests in the region,” Bolivar said.

So far, Bolivar said the Philippines-China relations have been “steadily improving in all aspects” over the last few years. “It’s also a welcome development for us to engage more actively with China on economic cooperation,” he added.

The Belt and Road Forum is China’s latest strategy to build a trade and infrastructure network Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes. The forum includes a leaders’ roundtable to be chaired by President Xi Jinping. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)