The Palace on Monday said it hopes to forge a better cooperation, a more powerful alliance, and closer bonds with China as the Duterte administration rolls out the red carpet for the two-day state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"Philippines, not for sale!"
Duterte has enthusiastically embraced Xi, even setting aside a key 2016 ruling from an global tribunal that declared as without basis Beijing's expansive claim over the waterway.
Beijing's relations with Manila stagnated over long-seething territorial rifts in the South China Sea until Duterte won the presidency in mid-2016 and rebuilt ties with China while often pillorying USA security policies in a dramatic pivot. Philippine, China working on state visit of Xi Jinping to ManilaTURNING POINT. "Good neighborliness, friendship and winning cooperation is our only correct choice", Xi said in his speech in Malacañang.
Duterte's rapprochement has fostered a new era of warming relations with the Asian economic powerhouse, with which he has sought trade and investment, infrastructure financing and weapons to fight insurgents.
The slow pace has been criticized by Duterte's political opponents.
The Chinese leader will also attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Jose Rizal monument in Luneta Park.
The deals signed Tuesday include a $2 billion Chinese investment to convert part of a former US airbase north of Manila into an industrial park and a loan agreement for a railway across the main Philippine island of Luzon, officials said.
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Xi will also have a photo opportunity with Leaders of the Filipino-Chinese Community at Shangri-La.
China has sought a so-called "Maritime and Air Liaison Mechanism", an arrangement for forces of both countries to coordinate their naval and aircraft movement to prevent "incidents" in the contested waters, but the proposal has been opposed by Philippine defense officials, the officials said.
China continues to assert its expansive claim over the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea, despite an global ruling that invalidated its 9-dash line. The ruling also recognized the Philippines' rights within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
"The Philippines should not waive our sovereign rights as affirmed by the arbitral ruling", said Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who has made extensive studies on the territorial conflicts.
"China and the Philippines have lots of common interests in the South China Sea. Under UNCLOS, there is freedom of navigation and overflight in the high seas for all nations", he said, referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
At the same time, the mercurial leader has declared an end to what he characterised as the Philippines' submissive relationship with the USA, even calling then-US president Barack Obama a "son of a whore".
In opening remarks during their talks, Duterte described Xi's visit as a "historic occasion", while Xi said it would be a "milestone in the history of exchange between our two countries".