MANILA, Philippines – Chinese President Xi Jinping will embark on a state visit to the Philippines from November 20 to 21, marking a new high point in Chinese-Philippine ties under the Duterte presidency.
Malacañang announced the dates in a statement on Thursday, November 15.
“Upon the invitation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Chinese President Xi Jinping will undertake a State Visit to the Philippines from 20-21 November 2018,” said Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Counsel Salvador Panelo.
The Palace had earlier announced Xi’s impending visit but at the time could not give specific dates.
Xi’s visit will be historic as it would be the first state visit to the Philippines of a Chinese president in 13 years, said Panelo.
The last time a Chinese president made a state visit to the country was Hu Jintao in 2005, under the administration of then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who also forged strong ties with China. The 2005 visit also coincided with the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The last time Xi was in Manila was in November 2015 when he attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting hosted by the Philippines.
Duterte had invited Xi to visit the Philippines during all of his 3 trips to China – in October 2016, May 2017, and this April.
In preparation for Xi’s November visit, Foreign Minister Wang Yi flew to Davao City in late October where he met with Duterte and Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had also made an official visit to Manila back in November 2017 – his first time in 10 years.
As of writing, the government has not yet given any details about Xi’s schedule in the Philippines and what specific agreements will be signed during his visit.
However, Malacañang has said there are plans for a framework agreement on joint exploration for oil and gas to be signed in time for or during Xi’s stay. – Rappler.com