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China, Philippines eye for enhanced economic ties

CHINA-BEIJING-LI KEQIANG-DUTERTE-MEETING (CN)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) meets with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 20, 2016. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

BEIJING, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- China and the Philippines on Thursday pledged to improve economic ties through cooperation.

During a meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Great Hall of the People, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China and the Philippines had a sound foundation and great potential to coordinate strategies related to improving the economy and people's living standards.

China is ready to increase cooperation with the Philippines in areas such as connectivity, infrastructure construction, production capacity, agriculture and finance, and further promote trade and investment, Li said.

Speaking highly of China's achievements in social and economic development, Duterte said the Philippines would like to deepen cooperation with China in various fields and learn from China's experience of poverty alleviation and economic development.

In a China-Philippines Trade and Investment Forum at the Great Hall of the People, together with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, Duterte said both countries share similar culture and thinking patterns.

The Philippines appreciates China's sincere assistance and respect of the Philippines and other countries, said Duterte, adding his country has put developing relations with China as one of its foreign policy priorities.

He said he welcomes China to further expand investment in the Philippines and would implement the consensus reached with Chinese leaders during this visit.

Zhang said the economic and trade cooperation, infrastructure construction and production capacity are priorities for the next stage of bilateral cooperation.

China is willing to work closely with the Philippines to implement the consensus, plans and major projects reached between the leaders, Zhang said.

The forum, jointly held by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines, was attended by some 700 businessmen from both countries.

During his meeting with Duterte, Li mentioned that the South China Sea issue should not define the Sino-Philippine relationship.

The common interests of the two countries far outweigh their differences, he added.

Li expressed China's willingness to develop relations with the Philippines to put ties back on a healthy track.

China has always stood for resolving bilateral issues through dialogue and consultation of those directly concerned, said Li.

Li hoped that the two sides would jointly promote good-neighborly friendship and remain committed to managing their differences through dialogue and consultation, which serves the common interests of the two sides and also contributes to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN and it is also the China-ASEAN year of tourism cooperation, with the Philippines holding the ASEAN's rotating presidency.

Li said China was willing to take this opportunity to enhance communication, coordination and cooperation with the Philippines within the framework of China-ASEAN cooperation.

Later Thursday, top legislator Zhang Dejiang also met with Duterte at the Great Hall of the People.

Duterte arrived in Beijing Tuesday night for a four-day state visit to China, the first country he has visited outside ASEAN since taking office in June.

The visit came amid a backdrop of deteriorating China-Philippines ties, due to the unilateral filing of the South China Sea arbitration case initiated by his predecessor Benigno Aquino III against China.

[ Editor: Fanhua ]