HIGHLIGHTS: Chinese President Xi Jinping makes historic visit in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – China's President Xi Jinping smiled and waved at the crowd who welcomed him at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) today, November 20.

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived today at NAIA
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived today at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport | Photo Courtesy: ABS-CBN

The Chinese leader is on its historic 2-day state visit to the Philippines. President Xi is the very first Chinese President to hold a state visit in the Philippines in 13 years.

President Xi was warmly welcomed by several government officials including Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua and Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal.

The state leader's visit began with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Park in Manila. The Chinese president was then welcomed by President Rodrigo Duterte at the Kalayaan Grounds in Malacañang.

Xi's arrival statement reiterated that it was “the only right choice" for the Philippines and China to foster a strong friendship.

An excerpt of statement reads, “Given the profound and complex changes in the world, good-neighborliness and friendship is the only right choice for China and the Philippines, two developing countries and emerging economies in Asia, and our peoples have higher expectations for stronger ties and cooperation across the board between our two sides," Xi said in a statement.”

Xi assured the Philippines that China will stand by the country as “for even greater progress in our relations.” He even called President Duterte a “friend” by saying, “Mr. President we have met six times during the past 2 years. We are each other’s good friend.”

During the state visit, bilateral talks are expected and the signing of “at least five agreements covering loan and guarantee accords, economic and technical cooperation, support for the feasibility studies on the Philippines' infrastructure projects, and promoting cooperation on key projects in Mindanao under the ambitious "Build, Build, Build" program.”

Among the agreements and discussions include:
  • rehabilitation of Marawi and PH participation in Belt and Road Initiative
  • China will provide another 50 government scholarship grants to Filipino students on an annual basis for 2019 to 2021.
  • President Xi invites President Duterte to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for Int'l Cooperation.
  • The two countries “charted the future course of China-PH relations and drew ambitious blueprints for its development”

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo described the Chinese President’s visit to the country as “an opportunity to further strengthen and sustain bilateral relations between the two nations.”

You can watch the video of President Xi’s arrival here:

Here’s also the video of the wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Park:

— Sally, The Summit Express

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