Chinese President Xi Jinping holds talks with his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, the Philippines, Nov. 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
MANILA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- China and the Philippines agreed on Tuesday to upgrade their ties to comprehensive strategic cooperation and jointly advance the Belt and Road construction.
The decision was made at a meeting between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte.
The two leaders reached important consensus on building bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect, sincerity, equality and mutual benefit, and win-win cooperation.
Xi told Duterte that he is delighted to visit the Philippines and is touched by the Philippine people's warm welcome, especially the kids' cheerful smile.
Calling China and the Philippines "close neighbors with exchanges going back a thousand years," Xi said good-neighborliness, friendship and win-win cooperation are the only correct choice for the two countries.
The upgrade of bilateral relations meets the expectation of both peoples and matches the development of China-Philippines ties, Xi said, calling on the two sides to enhance strategic guidance on bilateral relations by the two heads of state, promote exchanges on all levels and consolidate strategic mutual trust.
China supports the Philippines in choosing a development path that suits its own national conditions, he said, adding that the two countries should deepen their cooperation on three pillar fields, namely security, development and culture.
China also firmly supports the Philippines' fight against drugs and terrorism, will continue to provide assistance within its capacity to the Philippines to implement more public livelihood projects including poverty reduction, and expand exchanges and cooperation on education, culture and tourism, Xi said.
Extending warm welcome to Xi, Duterte noted that it was the first state visit to his country by a Chinese head of state in 13 years.
The visit, carrying historic significance and being a milestone in the Philippines-China relations, will open a new chapter in their cooperation, he said.
He said the Philippine side congratulates the Chinese side on the achievements it has made in its 40 years' reform and development, adding that he believes the Chinese people are sure to realize their Two Centenary Goals.
The Philippine side is ready to deepen the relations of comprehensive strategic cooperation with China on the basis of mutual respect, mutual understanding and sovereign equality, strengthen cooperation in trade, investment, agriculture, defense, health, drug control, improvement of livelihood, infrastructure construction and energy, as well as expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges in education and human resources.
The Philippine side agrees that countries in the region should jointly safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea, and stands ready to actively promote the development of relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries and China, he said.
China has stood on the right side of history in dealing with international affairs, Duterte said, adding that the Philippine side is ready to carry out closer communication and coordination with China within multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations.