Chinese Premier in Philippines for official visit

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte accompanying Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as he bows while reviewing an honour guard at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila yesterday during Mr Li's official visit to the Philippines. Mr Duterte heaped prai
PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte accompanying Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as he bows while reviewing an honour guard at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila yesterday during Mr Li's official visit to the Philippines. Mr Duterte heaped praise on Mr Li for what he said was China's "critical" role in expediting the end of a five-month war with Islamist insurgents in Marawi. Mr Duterte credited China with supplying what he said was the rifle that on Oct 16 killed the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's regional point man, Isnilon Hapilon, and said he would present that weapon to China as a mark of appreciation for its help. There are doubts, however, if it really was a Chinese sniper rifle that killed Hapilon, and uncertainty about whether the military has used any of the 6,100 guns Beijing has donated since June. The Philippine Defence Minister recently said all those weapons were given to the police.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2017, with the headline 'Chinese Premier in Philippines for official visit'. Print Edition | Subscribe