MANILAThe upcoming visit of President Xi Jinping to Manila is expected to position the China-Philippines relations "as a new model of international relations," Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said Thursday.
Xi will travel to Manila on November 20 for a historical state visit, which is a first of its kind by a Chinese head of state since 2005.
"We have every reason to believe that this visit will enormously boost China-Philippines relations in the new era, position our relations as a new model of international relations and further contribute to the building of a community of shared future for mankind," the envoy wrote in an article sent to the media.
"Standing at a new and crucial historical juncture, China and the Philippines are bound to build stronger strategic mutual trust, perform deeper economic cooperation and trade, and nurture closer people-to-people exchanges," he added.
China, the Philippines, and several coastal states have conflicting claims in the South China Sea.
While proper settlement on the territorial dispute has not yet been discussed, Manila decided to compartmentalize its engagement with Beijing, one through the Bilateral Consultative Mechanism where issues on the West Philippine Sea are discussed, the other on exploring aspects of cooperation with China.
Zhao said China and the Philippines' ties grew in the past two years, with increasing trade as well as with the continuous flow of investment to Manila from Beijing.
In 2017 alone, newly-added investment from China reached USD53.84 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 67 percent.
"China now stands out as the Philippines' top trading partner and import origin. And this August, China even became the top export market of the Philippines," the envoy said.
More than 40 cooperation documents were also signed in the areas of economy, trade, agriculture, fishery, energy, science and technology.
On tourism, Zhao noted the "booming exchanges" between the two nations, with China grabbing spot of the second largest tourist origin to the Philippines.
In the first three quarters in 2018, the Philippines has received more than 972,000 Chinese tourists, achieving a 34.9 percent year-on-year increase, Zhao noted.
With this, the envoy is optimistic the targeted 1.5 million Chinese tourists to the Philippines by end of 2018 will be reached.
"Proceeding from the principles of honoring traditional friendship, upholding peace and goodwill and advancing win-win cooperation, our two sides should by all means make the best and full use of the upcoming state visit by President Xi Jinping, and work together to make the Golden Age of China-Philippines relations richer and brighter than ever before," Zhao said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency