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Li's Philippine Visit to Firm Ties
Top legislator Li Peng arrived in Manila yesterday evening for his three-day official goodwill visit to the Philippines.

In his written statement released upon arrival, Li said that developing mutually beneficial cooperation with the Philippines is a long-standing policy of the Chinese Government.

Li said that further expanding cooperation between the two countries is not only in the basic interests of the two peoples but also brings benefit to regional peace and stability.

Li, who is visiting the Philippines at the invitation of Jose De Venecia, speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, said he was looking forward to having in-depth exchanges of views on bilateral relations and important regional and international issues.

Li, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, is expected to meet De Venecia today and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo tomorrow.

The Philippines is the third leg of Li's four-nation visit to Asia-Pacific countries, which has already taken him to Thailand and Indonesia and will conclude with his visit to Australia.

It is understood that some sensitive issues such as the South China Sea question and the Taiwan question will be touched upon during the visit, Beijing-based observers said.

In recent years the Philippines has claimed territorial rights over China's Huangyan Island on the grounds that it is within the Philippines' claimed 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, which is not recognized by international law.

A series of treaties on the delimitation of the Philippine territory have stipulated explicitly that the demarcation line in the west of the country's territorial limits is at 118 degrees east longitude, but Huangyan Island is to the west of this line and is a component part of China's Zhongsha Islands.

Leaders from both sides have agreed to solve the dispute through coordination and negotiation so as to avoid damaging bilateral ties.

Also yesterday, before leaving for Manila, Li met former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid in Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia. Li expressed China's appreciation of Wahid's contributions to the promotion of bilateral relations.

Later, Li made a speech at a luncheon held by local entrepreneurs in which he said that both China and Indonesia are big developing countries and have great potential in economic and trade cooperation.

(China Daily September 13, 2002)

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China Values Friendly Ties with ASEAN Nations: Li Peng
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China, the Philippines to Enhance Relations
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