Xi, Duterte pledge Belt and Road, maritime cooperation

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on Tuesday. The two presidents had an in-depth exchange of views during Mr Xi's two-day visit to the Philippines.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on Tuesday. The two presidents had an in-depth exchange of views during Mr Xi's two-day visit to the Philippines.PHOTO: REUTERS

Leaders also commit to resolving disputes, such as those over S. China Sea, peacefully

MANILA • China and the Philippines issued a joint statement yesterday, stipulating cooperation on Belt and Road construction and agreeing to discuss maritime cooperation, during President Xi Jinping's state visit to the country.

Mr Xi and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte held a bilateral meeting and charted the course for the future of China-Philippine bilateral relations, had an in-depth exchange of views on regional and international issues of common interest and reached an important consensus, said the joint statement.

The Chinese and Philippine presidents decided to establish the relationship of comprehensive strategic cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, sincerity, equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.

Mr Xi and Mr Duterte recognised that the elevation of China-Philippine relations is in line with the fundamental interests and shared aspirations of the two countries and their people, the joint statement said.

Both sides exchanged views on issues regarding the South China Sea, and reaffirmed that contentious issues are not the sum total of China-Philippine bilateral relations and should not exclude mutually beneficial cooperation in other fields.

China and the Philippines also reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting regional peace and stability, as well as freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea.

China and the Philippines also expressed the commitment to address disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to threats or the use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned and in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the statement said.

Both sides noted that the situation in the South China Sea has become generally more stable as a result of joint cooperative efforts between China, the Philippines and other Asean member states. Both countries, together with Asean member states, will work for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety, according to the statement.

China and the Philippines agreed to maintain the positive momentum of the negotiations on the Single Draft Code of Conduct Negotiating Text, with a view towards the early adoption of an effective code of conduct, based on consensus.

Both sides also agreed to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities in the South China Sea that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.

Mr Xi's two-day visit to the Philippines, which ended yesterday, was the first by a Chinese head of state in 13 years.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2018, with the headline 'Xi, Duterte pledge Belt and Road, maritime cooperation'. Print Edition | Subscribe