MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to make a historic trip to the Philippines from November 17 to 19 for a key regional summit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced.
At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in the Philippines, Xi is joining world leaders such as US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"At the invitation of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III of the Republic of the Philippines, President Xi Jinping will attend the 23rd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Manila, the Philippines, from November 17 to 19," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement Monday, November 9.
Before this, Xi "will attend the 10th G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey from November 14 to 16." He is set to join the G20 Summit "at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey."
Xi's trip to Manila comes as the Philippines and China remain embroiled in a dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Aquino-Xi meeting 'possible'
Weeks before his trip, the Philippines won the first round of its case against China before an arbitral tribunal based in The Hague, Netherlands.
It is unclear if Aquino and Xi will hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the APEC Summit.
The last time Aquino and Xi met was on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Beijing, China, in 2014.
That meeting was held for 10 minutes after a tree-planting ceremony in Beijing.
Aquino said it was the Philippines' first “direct contact with them” since he met with then Chinese President Hu Jintao in 2011.
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.