Xi, Duterte agree on continuous engagement

MANILA The Philippines and China agreed to maintain close high-level communication through bilateral visits, phone calls, exchange of letters, and side meetings in multilateral forums, to strengthen the planning of bilateral relations.

In a joint statement released by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping committed to "institute timely communication on major regional and international issues, and promote the sharing of experience in state governance."

Xi visited Manila from Tuesday to Wednesday, a first of its kind for a Chinese state leader in over a decade.

During the trip, Xi and Duterte recognized that defense and military cooperation are significant components of bilateral relations and will contribute to the peace and stability of the region.

"Both sides will jointly implement the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Defense Cooperation through practical cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance, disaster response and mitigation, and peacekeeping operations," it reads.

In other aspects of cooperation, the two sides acknowledged the need to advance collaboration in matters relating to health and law enforcement.

China at the same time reiterates its firm support to the Philippine government's efforts in fighting illicit drugs and drug-related crimes.

Beijing said it is willing to strengthen cooperation in areas such as combating the smuggling of illegal drugs and its precursor chemicals, intelligence sharing, joint investigation and operation as well as drug rehabilitation.

"The Philippines spoke highly of the completion of the drug rehabilitation center in Sarangani Province and the construction of the rehabilitation center in Agusan del Sur, both financed by China through grants, and conveyed its appreciation to China for its assistance in personnel training and donation of drug detection, seizure, and testing equipment," it further reads.

Among others, the two sides "strongly condemned" terrorism in all forms and committed to engage in information exchange, and capacity building.

The Philippines, for its part, expressed appreciation for China's support and assistance to the Philippines in counter-terrorism efforts and in the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi City.

On trade, both sides hail the progress in the Manila-Beijing bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

The two nations will continue to implement the Six-Year Development Program for Trade and Economic Cooperation (2017-2022), as both agree to promote bilateral trade and investment settlements denominated in domestic currencies.

China also repeated its commitment to import more high-quality agricultural products, including tropical fruits from the Philippines, through expeditious completion of the accreditation process to enhance two-way trade balance.

During Xi's visit, the two leaders recalled the history of friendly exchanges between Philippines and China, and had an "in-depth exchange of views on regional and international issues of common interest, and reached important consensus." The statement reads that Manila also reaffirmed its observance of the One-China Policy.

Before leaving Manila on Wednesday afternoon, Xi had a joint meeting with House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Senate President Vicente Castelo Sotto III in Taguig City.

The historic state visit of the Chinese leader produced at least 29 agreements and MOUs.

The following are agreements and MOUs signed between the two states:

1. Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China on Cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative

2. Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China

3. Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China

4. Infrastructure Cooperation Program between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China

5. Program for Cooperation on Industrial Parks Development between the Republic of the Philippines and People's Republic of China

6. The Exchange of Letters on the Davao River Bridge Project (Bucana) between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China.

7. The Exchange of Letters on China Aid Bridge and Road Project in Marawi between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China

8. Exchange of Letters on Project of Container Inspection Equipment between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China

9. Handover of Certificate of Emergency Humanitarian Cash Assistance to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines

10. Executive Programme on the Cultural Agreement of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China for 2019-2023

11. Memorandum of Understanding on Basic Education between the Department of Education of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China

12. Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Information and Communications Technology of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China

13. Memorandum of Understanding between the Cooperative Development Authority of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People's Republic of China on Strengthening the Building of Agricultural Cooperatives

14. Memorandum of Understanding on Jointly Promoting the Cooperation in Key Infrastructure Projects in Davao Region between the Department of Finance of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China

15. Implementation Agreement of the Feasibility Study of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridge

16. Implementation Agreement of the Feasibility Study of the Davao City Expressway Project

17. Memorandum of Understanding on Renminbi Clearing Arrangement

18. Protocol on Phytosanitary Requirements for Export of Fresh Young Coconuts from the Philippines to China between the Department of Agriculture of the Republic of the Philippines and the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China

19. Protocol on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Requirements for Export of Frozen Fruits from the Philippines to China between Department of Agriculture of the Republic of the Philippines and the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China

20. Memorandum of Understanding on Supporting the Feasibility Study of Major Projects between the Department of Finance of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the China International Development Cooperation Agency of the Government of the People's Republic of China

21. Memorandum of Understanding between Foreign Service Institute of the Republic of the Philippines and the China Foreign Affairs University of the People's Republic of China

22. Preferential Buyer's Credit Loan Agreement on the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project between Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewage System (MWSS) and Export-Import Bank of China

23. Memorandum of Understanding on Panda Bonds Issuance

24. Commercial Contract of the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project between Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewage System (MWSS) China Energy Engineering Corporation

25. Framework Agreement for Industrial Park between Bases Conversion and Development Authority and Gezhouba

26. Contract for the Project Management Consultancy of the Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Project (North-South Railway Project) between the Department of Transportation of the Republic of the Philippines and China Railway Design Corporation

27. Commercial Contract on the Safe Philippines Project, Phase I

28. Letter of No Objection to the Organization of the Renminbi-Philippine Peso Foreign Exchange Trading Market

29. Certificate of Authority to Operate for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Limited - Manila Branch. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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