Chinese President Xi to visit PHL this year

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday said the country is looking forward to the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines within 2018.

“We are looking forward to President Xi Jinping visiting the country this year but we are still talking about specific dates,” he said.

The invitation was extended by the Philippine side when President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi first met.

Cayetano said the Chinese side accepted “right away” but the latter replied that this year will be the better date for the trip.

Meanwhile, he explained that high-level visits demand numerous preparations.

“Remember when presidents at this level meet, there are a lot of preparations and a lot of things that they want to announce. When President Duterte visits other countries, they go home with agreements in different fields of cooperation so we’re working on that as if it will happen in the next few months. But we’re looking at the latter part of the year,” he said.

Duterte first visited China in October 2016 at the invitation of Xi.

He then returned to Beijing in May 2017 to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

In April, the President attended the Boao Forum in Asia in the southern Chinese province of Hainan.

Xi, meanwhile, skipped the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Manila last year. He was represented by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. PNA