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Duterte returns from fruitful trip to China

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By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte returned to the Philippines after articulating key Philippine positions to advance and sustain global growth and development during his participation in the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte salutes an official from the Armed Forces of the Philippines upon his arrival in Davao City on April 27, 2019, after a productive visit to the People's Republic of China. (TOTO LOZANO / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte salutes an official from the Armed Forces of the Philippines upon his arrival in Davao City on April 27, 2019, after a productive visit to the People’s Republic of China. (TOTO LOZANO / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement, Malacañang said that Duterte had a productive and fruitful visit to the Asian superpower.

“The President’s visit to China further revitalized bilateral relations which will redound to greater socioeconomic benefits, peace, and stability for both countries,” the Palace statement read.

Belt and Road Forum

Based on the Palace statement, Duterte, at the High-Level Meeting Session I of the Forum, pushed for a new model of international cooperation where development assistance will be a genuine tool to build national capacities for sustained growth. He stressed that development assistance should not foster dependence, but build the capacities of developing nations.

“The President called for enhanced partnerships to address transboundary development challenges in order to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth, stressing the importance of multilateralism based on respect for sovereign equality,” it said.

The Palace also said that the President cited the need for a fair and equitable rules-based regime which governs the relations of states, global trade, and the use the world’s oceans.

He likewise highlighted the important role played by organizations, particularly ASEAN, in the evolving regional and global architecture.

President Duterte underscored the platforms provided by ASEAN as ways to engage the international community positively to advance connectivity, sustainable development, and equitable growth.

Emphasizing the human dimensions that need to be promoted and protected in a world desiring growth, Malacañang said President Duterte raised attention to protecting and upholding the rights of migrant workers.

“He said connectivity meant more than building roads and bridges, but also safeguarding the human nodes of connections that made possible the exchanges of skills, ideas and experiences,” the Palace said.

At the Leaders’ Roundtable Session III, the President reiterated the need to build strong partnerships with like-minded states, multilateral institutions, and other stakeholders that share the Philippines’ vision of securing a stable, peaceful, and resilient international community.

“The President underscored that an effective belt and road cooperation should be an exercise of responsible and effective partnership for inclusive and sustainable development. He championed cooperation in infrastructure development, agriculture development and green technology and renewable energy as concrete measures for action,” Malacañang noted.

“The Philippines’ participation at the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) demonstrates the country’s support for enhanced regional and global connectivity to promote deeper economic integration,” it added.

Nature and climate change

Meanwhile, Duterte also expressed grave concern over the impact of more frequent and more intense disruptive weather on developing countries like the Philippines, and called for greater principled, concerted and collective action on climate change. He thanked countries for assisting the Philippines in times of calamities and called for proactive rather than reactive measures to climatic events.

Duterte also urged countries to act and ensure that all countries, particularly economies that contribute greenhouse emissions, be made accountable. President Duterte called for the effective enforcement of the world’s commitments to address climate change.

The President also underscored the need to improve ways to manage and protect marine resources. He emphasized that it is the collective duty of the international community to promote the sustainable and peaceful use of seas and oceans in accordance with international law.

Meeting with Chinese officials

President Duterte also held separate meetings with China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. Both countries renewed their commitment to bolster bilateral relations based on mutual trust, respect, and friendship.

“They agreed to further deepen Philippines-China strategic cooperation, particularly in the areas of security, trade, and investment to support common development goals, including the Administration’s Build, Build, Build program,” Malacañang said.

In both meetings, the Philippines and China agreed to continue working closely to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea and address differences through consultation.

“The Philippines and China expressed hope for an early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, which will be a vital instrument for the maintenance of peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region,” the Palace added.

Duterte and Xi then witnessed the signing of the Handover Certificate Grand-Aid for the Dangerous Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers Projects in Sarangani and Agusan del Sur, and Exchange of Letters on the 2019 China-Philippines Production Capacity and Investment Cooperation Project.

Business conglomerates

Duterte also met leaders of Philippine and Chinese business conglomerates in the manufacturing, energy, steel, and infrastructure industries. He witnessed the signing of 19 business deals worth over US$12 billion which are expected to generate more than 20,000 jobs.

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