Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. sign the memorandum of understanding on oil and gas development between the Philippines and China. Malacañang photo

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, November 20, signed 29 agreements signifying a “milestone in the history of exchange” between the two countries.

“Thanks to our joint efforts, we have made productive the results in cooperation in all areas bringing benefits to our two peoples and making a contribution to the peace and stability of the region. China and the Philippines are close neighbors with a thousand- year history of exchanges. Good neighborliness, friendship and winning cooperation is our only correct choice,” Xi said as reported by The Manila Times

Among the said deals include an oil and gas agreement. Others involved trade and investment, banking and finance, infrastructure, agriculture, education, culture, and people-to-people exchanges that the Philippines and China signed jointly.

“China stands ready to work with the Philippines for even greater progress in our relations. Our peoples have higher expectations for stronger ties and cooperation across the board between our two sides,” Xi said as reported by The Philippine Star.

In his speech, Duterte discussed the positive momentum that a goo Philippine-China relations would entail.

“A lot of work remains, but President Xi’s visit gives us new impetus to our mutual efforts to enhance collaboration in ensuring the well-being of our peoples and contributing to peace and stability in the region,” Duterte said.

“With mutual respect, sincerity, and adherence to sovereign equality, I will continue to work closely with President Xi to deepen the relationship between our great countries so we may together secure a peaceful and prosperous future for both our peoples and for the entire region,” he added.

Xi was in Manila for a two-day official state visit after President Duterte invited him to the country. He is the eighth Chinese leader to visit the Philippines since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1975.

“I am convinced that this visit will cement the traditional friendship, deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation and enhance the joint effort of the two sides for common development,” Xi said.

“It will surely inject fresh, strong impetus into the good neighborly relations and friendship between the two countries for the benefit of our peoples,” he added.

The Chinese leader also noted the shared interest of the two countries in the West Philippine Sea. He promised to address such issues to sustain the diplomatic relations the two countries have.

“China and the Philippines have a lot of common interests in the South China Sea. We will continue to manage contentious issues and promote maritime cooperation through friendly consultation,” Xi said.

“And we will work alongside other ASEAN countries towards the conclusion of COC based on consultations, based on consensus within three years and continue our share to peace, stability and welfare in this region,” the Chinese leader added.

Duterte said that the trust between China and the Philippines is continuously increasing. As such, it would be mutually beneficial for both countries.

“In the past two years, we have worked hard to lay the cornerstones for the continued advancement of our beneficial cooperation in a wide range of areas. There is a deepening trust and confidence [between] our governments, and we have greatly increased dialogue and interaction on many levels,” Duterte said. 

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