In his departure speech at the Davao International Airport on Sunday before leaving, first to Brunei Darussalam and then to China, Mr. Duterte said: “I look forward to renewing the ties of friendship between the Philippines and China and to reaffirm the commitment to work closer to achieve shared goals for our countries and peoples”.
Hua emphasized that China attach great importance to improving and developing relations with the Philippines and “set great store” by President Duterte’s visit to China. He has talked of a key turning point in relations with China, promised to speak softly and praised China’s “good, sound policies, internal and external”.
Duterte has said he does not want to use the verdict to pressure China.
As much as China welcomes Mr Duterte, he may not be an easy customer on all fronts, said Professor Renato Cruz De Castro, a fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, and an expert on China and the Philippines.
A Philippine draft of a proposed joint statement touches on the restoration of permits for Filipino agricultural exports, China’s support for Mr. Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, boosting tourism and enhancing Coast Guard cooperation to avoid misunderstandings at sea.
Duterte has expressed doubts about whether the United States would come to the aid of the Philippines in a military showdown, and on the eve of his departure for Beijing he said he would be looking to buy Chinese weapons in his fight against terrorism. “It is better to talk than war”. The kneeling of a key USA ally before the Chinese could have serious implications for the American-led East Asian security structure. While the South China Sea dispute between the two countries appears to be firmly on the agenda, the Philippine president will be accompanied by a 200-strong delegation of business leaders. “And remember, there are only two options: We go to trouble or we talk”.
China’s ambassador to the Philippines, Zhao Jianhua, said in a separate press conference that increasing China’s imports of tropical fruit from the Philippines would be on the agenda. He has lashed out at President Barack Obama for criticizing his deadly anti-drug campaign, but he has reached out to China and Russian Federation.
As global concern over the increasing number of deaths in his administration’s war on drugs grows, Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte over the weekend told critics to stop “threatening” him.
“There are so many things in my country which I would like to implement, but for lack of the capital stock“, he said.
In the Philippines, the maritime row has also fueled negative sentiment toward China.
The president also said he was willing to hold joint military exercises with China and Russian Federation, after the close of what he said would be the last set of war games with the U.S. in his country, last week.
“The worldwide decision will be taken up”, Duterte said.
He added, “Some other countries know we are short of money, (but) instead of helping us, all they had to do was just to criticise”. The Chinese government has offered to help in that effort.
His government has paved the way for indigenous people displaced by mining and logging to return to their ancestral lands, has committed to providing free irrigation to subsistence farmers, has suspended the operations of mining companies that violated environmental protection laws, and has begun a program of free checkups for the 20 million poorest Filipinos.