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China hopes to restore good relations with the Philippines

China hopes to restore good relations with the PhilippinesChinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that he hoped Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's "milestone" visit to China could help "fully improve" ties, which have suffered from to a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, Reuters reported.

Duterte arrived in Beijing on Tuesday with at least 200 top business people to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance, as relations with longtime ally the United States deteriorate.

On Wednesday, to the cheers of hundreds of Filipinos in Beijing, Duterte said Philippine foreign policy was veering towards China.

"I will not go to America anymore. We will just be insulted there," Duterte said. "So time to say goodbye my friend."

Xi told Duterte at Beijing's Great Hall of the People that China and the Philippines were brothers and that the two sides could "appropriately handle disputes", though Xi did not specifically mention the South China Sea row in comments in front of reporters.

"I hope we can follow the wishes of the people and use this visit as an opportunity to push China-Philippines relations back on a friendly footing and fully improve things," he said.

The two countries would return to the track of dialogue and consultation in seeking a proper settlement of the South China Sea issue, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said.

"The two sides briefly mentioned the South China Sea. Both sides agreed that this issue is not the sum total of bilateral relations," Liu told reporters after the Xi-Duterte meeting.
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