Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit China next week, China confirmed on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
The visit is seen as an answer to deteriorating U.S.-Philippine ties. Under Duterte, Manila's relations with Washington have come under strain. So the recently elected president has opted to put aside years of hostility with China, especially over the disputed South China Sea, to form a new partnership
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, confirming a visit previously flagged in Manila, said Duterte would meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang during his October 18-21 trip and have a "deep exchange of views"
on how to improve ties, cooperation and regional issues.
About 250 Philippine business executives will visit Beijing with Duterte. Filipino executives are eager to talk with Chinese business leaders and government officials about deals in a range of sectors, from rail, and construction to tourism, agribusiness, power and manufacturing."China looks forward to increasing mutual trust between the two countries, deepening practical cooperation and continuing the tradition of friendship via the visit of President Duterte,"
Geng told a daily news briefing.
The two should appropriately handle disputes through talks and promote a strategic, cooperative relationship that is dedicated to peace and development, he added."The Philippines is a traditionally friendly neighbor of China. The two peoples have a long history of friendship."
Duterte's forthcoming trip could prove a turning point in countries’ relations, with promises to hold talks with China on the South China Sea dispute and signs of a new and potentially much deeper economic relationship.
Chinese spokesman Geng repeated Beijing's standard line that China wanted to resolve the dispute via talks with the parties directly involved, including the Philippines.
Duterte said on Tuesday he will also probably visit Russia after a trip to Japan this month.