Duterte tells Xi Jinping he hopes to boost military co-operation with China

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The two president’s before their bilateral talks in China today. Picture via Presidential Communications.

President Duterte said he hopes for intensified military co-operation with China when he met Xi Jinping in Hainan.

The two leaders held a bilateral meeting at the Boao State Guesthouse on the southern Chinese island to agree a “higher level of friendship” today (Tuesday, April 10).

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In the meantime, six bilateral agreements — including the recruitment of 100,000 Filipino English teachers in China — were signed during the talks held on the sidelines of the annual Boao Forum for Asia.

It was also agreed that the Chinese premier would visit the Philippines in November.

It has not yet been disclosed whether the talks touched on issues surrounding Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea.

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At the opening of today’s talks, President Duterte said: “One of the things that we would like to assure you is that we would like the fullest co-operation between our two countries regarding transnational crimes and address terrorism.

“China and the Philippines can do more to boost military and defence co-operation under the framework of the 2004 Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Co-operation.”

He also said that he welcomed China’s hosting of the 6th Annual Defense and Security Talks to discuss better cooperation.

He also said he was “very happy” about the re-election of Xi as president of the People’s Republic of China. “We are happy also that we have maintained this relation and promoted it to a higher level of friendship,” he added.

The president also thanked China anew for the military assistance given to the Philippines especially in defeating the terrorist insurgency in Marawi City.

In particular, he praised the model of military rifle donated by China, which he said was used to shoot the Islamic State’s regional representative Isnilon Hapilon towards the end of the siege.

“It spelled the difference between victory and defeat, at least on a shorter term, that we are able to put down the terroristic activities that have perpetuated in Marawi,” he said.

The six bilateral pacts signed during President Duterte’s visit to China were:

Agreement on economic and technical cooperation between the Philippines and China

Exchange of letters on the Phase III of Technical Co-operation for the Agricultural Technology Center of the Philippines

Preferential buyer credit loan agreement for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project between the Philippines and the Export-Import Bank of China

Exchange of letters for the pre-feasibility study of the proposed Davao City Expressway Project

Exchange of letters on providing a batch of broadcasting equipment to the Presidential Communications Operations Office

Memorandum of Understanding on the Employment of Filipino Teachers of English language in China

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