PHL remains China’s ally in Southeast Asia: Duterte

“The Chief Executive (President Rodrigo Duterte) culminated the talk with the Chinese President [Xi Jinping] articulating his position that the Philippines remains China’s ally in Southeast Asia. The former emphasised that both countries are allies, and allies strengthen—and do not destroy – each other,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement after the two leaders met in a bilateral meeting and tackled West Philippine Sea.

“Both agree that the situation (particularly the situation in Pag-Asa Island) can be managed by the mechanism of bilateral negotiations but it should not affect the cooperation being undertaken by both the Philippines and China and they look forward to a productive discussion on matters of mutual concern and interests,” Panelo said.

He added that the Chinese leader expounded on the importance of good neighborliness and proper handling of differences between the countries.

“While the Chinese leader acknowledged the inevitable of having challenges to the bilateral relations, he placed importance on the mutual trust that exists between the two nations in order to resolve the same,” Panelo added.

“President Xi cited the Memorandum of Understanding on Oil and Gas as an example where both the Philippines and China suspended their differences for a joint exploration that would mutually benefit both countries and their peoples,” Panelo said.