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Duterte’s goals in return trip to China

BEIJING – Forging stronger economic, trade, and security cooperation between the Philippines and China will be part of President Duterte’s mission during his return visit here.

Coming from his stopover in Hong Kong, the President is scheduled to arrive in Beijing tonight for an official visit mainly to attend an international summit on China’s ambitious Silk Road development plan.

Duterte is also expected to hold bilateral talks with China President Xi Jinping on Monday at the Great Hall of the People. A separate meeting will be held with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit here.

“My meetings with Chinese officials will focus on a review of political-security developments, economic, cultural, and people-to-people relations,” the President said in his recent remarks.

“We will discuss recent exchanges between the Philippines and China and updates on economic cooperation since my State Visit to China in October of 2016,” he added.

Beijing is the President’s last stop in his three-nation journey this week. Prior to his visit to China, Duterte travelled to Hong Kong for a meeting with the Filipino community and Cambodia for the World Economic Forum on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 2017.

The President’s first activity in Beijing is a bilateral meeting with Mongolia Prime Minister Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat at the Grand Hyatt Hotel tomorrow. Duterte had said he intends to review the country’s bilateral relations with Mongolia, particularly on enhancing economic cooperation and high-level exchanges.

Tomorrow night, Xi is expected to host a welcome dinner for Duterte and other visiting world leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

On Monday, the Belt and Road forum, organized by Xi, will formally open to push for vast infrastructure links among Asia, Africa, and Europe. The proposed network of ports, railways, and pipelines will reportedly be bankrolled by billions of dollars.

Duterte is expected to join the leaders’ roundtable on “Policy Synergy for Closer Partnership” as well as the working lunch on “Closer People-to-People Bond.” Another roundtable session on “Connectivity Cooperation for Interconnected Development” will also be attended by Duterte and other world leaders.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Philippines is expected to benefit from the China’s One Belt, One Road initiative in terms of improved trade and infrastructure development.

“China’s trade with the Philippines will be strengthened, especially now that they’ve recognized that there is an imbalance in the trade between two countries,” Lopez said.

“They have more exports from us rather than we are exporting (to Beijing). They are now pushing for balancing of trade. In other words, buying more products from us which is definitely a welcome move from our Chinese counterparts,” he added. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)