Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday, November 20, for a two-day state visit to address the issues that tie the two countries together including the West Philippine Sea rift.

As Xi arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1, he was welcomed by  Philippine Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Santa Romana, and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua.

Xi is the first Chinese president to make a state visit to the Philippines after 13 years. Former Chinese President Hu Jintao visited in 2005, during the Arroyo administration.

The Chinese president praised the current administration of President Rodrigo Duterte noting that the Philippines-China relations improved after Duterte was elected in office in June 2016.

“Our relations have now seen a rainbow after the rain,” Xi said in a statement as reported by The Philippine Star.

“As we speak, it is already winter in the northern part of the globe but here we are still enjoying refreshing breeze and exceptional scenes and this is exactly what China-Philippines relationship is like today. I am satisfied to see the growth in our relations and indeed I have been looking forward to this trip a long time ago,” Xi added.

In his opening remarks, Xi stated the history between the Philippines and China as he begins the expanded bilateral meeting with Duterte.

“China and the Philippines are close neighbors with a thousand-year history of exchange; good neighborliness, friendship, and winning cooperation is our only correct choice,” Xi said as reported by Rappler.

Xi stayed at the Shangri-la The Fort, Bonifacio Global City during his two-day visit. All official activities was held at the Malacañang Palace on the first day, after the wreath-laying ceremony at Rizal Park.

The Chinese president schedule included the official welcome ceremony, signing of the guestbook, expanded bilateral meeting, witnessing of the signing or exchange of agreements, joint press statements with no question and answer and restricted meeting and exchange of gifts and state banquet with toast remarks.

The activities on the second day  involved the joint call of House Speaker and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senate President Vicente Sotto III followed by a photo opportunity with leaders of the Filipino-Chinese Community at the Shangri-La, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.

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