PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China signaled “a turning point in history “even as the Philippines and China pledged to settle disputes peacefully.
“My state visit to China signaled a turning point in our shared history and showed that both countries are fully capable of working together for mutual beneficial cooperation even as we remain committed to settle disputes peacefully in full adherence of international law,” Duterte said in a news conference in Davao Friday evening upon his arrival from his four-day China visit.
Duterte had spoken with the Chinese government on a number of issues concerning both China and the Philippines.
“In all meetings, we had productive and extensive discussions of the full-range of Chinese-Philippine relations from trade to infrastructures and tourism and to science and technology and health,” Duterte said.
Duterte also said he talked to President Xi Jinping on the Scarborough Shoal issue, saying, “Yes, of course [we talked about it]. I leave it to the Chinese authorities what they will do in the next few days.”
Duterte said what is important is to protect the country’s sovereignty.
“In every step that took the relationship of Philippines and China further forward, I was guided by the duty to protect the sovereignty of our nation and the interest of our people,” Duterte said as he vowed to put the nation’s interest above everything else.
“In all my engagements abroad, rest assured that I will always pursue our nation's best interest consistent with our independent foreign policy anchored on the basic tenets of sovereignty, non-interference and mutual respect,” he said.