By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte will embark on a six-day visit to China on August 28 to September 2 to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping amid the government’s recent concerns about the South China Sea dispute.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said this will be the fifth visit of the President to China since he sought closer economic and security ties with the Asian giant in 2016. He last visited China in April this year for the Belt and Road Initiative forum.
According to Panelo, the President is expected to raise the arbitral ruling on the South China Sea dispute in his meeting with Xi.
The ruling by the Hague-based arbitration court nullified China’s nine-dash claim over South China Sea but Beijing has refused to recognize the decision.
“He promised that there will be a time when I’m going to raise this and this is the time,” Panelo said. “We’re supposed to be neighbors, we’re friends, let’s talk about it,” he said.
He said the President would also press for the swift crafting of a code of conduct in the disputed territory to ease the tension in the area. Duterte is also expected to discuss the joint oil exploration project with China during his talks with Xi.
Apart from his meeting with Xi, the President is also scheduled to inaugurate a school building named after his late mother Soledad in Fujian province. He also plans to watch a basketball game during the FIBA tournament in China.