Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, and the two leaders expressed their readiness to push forward ties.
"Under the two sides' joint efforts, bilateral ties smoothly realized taking an upturn and scoring consolidation and uplift, and continuously achieved tangible outcomes, during President Duterte's administration over the past three years," said Xi, expressing welcome for Duterte's visit.
"At present, the international and regional situations are undergoing profound and complex changes. However, peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit are still an irresistible trend of the times," said Xi.
Xi said he is willing to work with Duterte to continue to grasp the trend of the times from a strategic and long-term perspective, leading the sound development of bilateral ties. "This will not only benefit the two countries and their peoples, but will also add positive energy to regional peace and stability."
Xi said it is necessary to continue to promote the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Philippine "Build, Build, Build" program, and implement major cooperative projects in such areas as infrastructure construction, industrial parks, telecommunications and energy.
"China is willing to import more high-quality fruits and agricultural products from the Philippines, and will send experts to the Philippines to teach agricultural and fishery technology," said Xi.
On issues such as human rights, China will continue to firmly support the Philippines' efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and resist external interference, said the Chinese president.
On the South China Sea issue, Xi said China and the Philippines have been maintaining effective communication.
He said the two sides should set aside disputes, eliminate external interference, and concentrate on conducting cooperation, making pragmatic efforts and seeking development.
Xi said "as long as the two sides handle the South China Sea issue properly, the atmosphere of bilateral ties will be sound, the foundation of the relationship will be stable, and regional peace and stability will have an important guarantee."
Both sides can take a "bigger step" in the joint development of offshore oil and gas, said Xi.
"The Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea is a pioneering undertaking in establishing rules and regulations in the South China Sea, and China and the Philippines should be committed to promoting the adoption of the COC at an early date," said Xi, stressing an early adoption will demonstrate the firm position and positive stance of China and the Philippines to jointly safeguard the long-term stability of the region.
Duterte expressed congratulations on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, saying that China's successful development experience is worth learning from.
"I cherish the close friendship with President Xi," he said, adding that China means a lot to the Philippines and developing bilateral ties is a project lasting for generations.
He pledged to meet with Xi frequently, strengthen communication, and jointly promote the sound development of the two countries' ties so as to achieve win-win benefits.
Duterte expressed his hope that China will continue to help the Philippines in economic development and infrastructure construction, and thanked China for support in his country's human rights cause, post-quake reconstruction, and anti-terrorism and anti-narcotics endeavors.
Facts have proven that China is a sincere friend to the Philippines, he said, adding that the Philippines fully respects China's laws and the right to maintain law-based governance on the Hong Kong issue, he said.
Duterte expressed his view that the path to peacefully resolving the South China Sea disputes is through cooperation, rather than confrontation.
Maintaining friendly cooperation as well as peace and stability is in the interests of all the parties in the region, he said, while pledging to speed up joint maritime oil and gas exploration with China.
As the country coordinator for China-ASEAN relations, the Philippines is committed to advancing an early adoption of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea with relevant parties, Duterte said.
After the meeting, the two heads of state witnessed a ceremony for the exchange of bilateral cooperation deals.
The two sides also announced the setting up of an intergovernmental joint steering committee and a working group between relevant enterprises on oil and gas cooperation so as to promote substantial progress in the joint exploration of oil and gas.
Duterte is on a visit to China from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1, at the invitation of Xi. He will also attend the opening ceremony of the 2019 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup in Beijing.