Xi calls for steady, long-term development of China-Philippines ties

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China stands ready to work with the Philippines to keep bilateral relations on the right track and achieve steady and long-term development, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday.

In a phone conversation with his Philippine counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, Xi said China attaches great importance to relations with the Philippines, and supports the Philippine side in firmly upholding an independent foreign policy of peace.

Xi said China is ready to deepen friendship and mutual trust with the Philippines, and stay committed to the general direction of good-neighborliness and friendship.

During the past few years, the two countries have witnessed a turnaround, consolidation and elevation of their relations, as well as the establishment of a comprehensive strategic cooperative relationship, which has brought tangible benefits to the people of both countries and positive energy to the peace and stability of the region, Xi said.

Citing a Chinese saying that "only heart-to-heart exchanges can last long," Xi said China always honors its commitments to friends.

Xi said he is willing to keep close contact with Duterte and frequently exchange views on important matters of mutual concern.

He stressed that the top priority for all countries now is to prevail over the COVID-19 pandemic at an early date and achieve economic recovery and growth.

China, he added, will continuously strengthen anti-pandemic cooperation with the Philippines, and provide as much assistance and help as it can for the Philippines' fight against the coronavirus.

Noting that important achievements have been made in synergizing the Belt and Road Initiative with the Philippines' "Build, Build, Build" program, Xi said China is willing to work with the Philippines to implement more cooperation projects and allow the people in both countries to benefit more from bilateral cooperation.

China, he added, is ready to work with the Philippines to grasp the general trend, promote the common values of humanity, and advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, so as to make more contributions to regional peace and prosperity.

For his part, Duterte said he would like to extend warm congratulations once again on the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which is a milestone in history, and the lifting of over 800 million people in China out of poverty, which is an extraordinary historic achievement of the CPC.

Over the past five years, he noted, the Philippines and China have opened a new era of their comprehensive strategic cooperative relationship.

In the face of the pandemic, the Philippines-China friendship has withstood the test, with bilateral economic cooperation growing despite the challenges, which offers a good illustration of the saying that "a friend in need is a friend indeed," he said.

He added that the Philippine side appreciates China's contribution to championing global unity against the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks China for providing vaccines and other assistance to the Philippines, and hopes to continue strengthening anti-pandemic cooperation with China.

The Philippines, he said, welcomes more Chinese investment in its planned construction projects, and hopes that bilateral practical cooperation in areas such as infrastructure and agriculture will achieve more results.

Stressing that the Philippines cherishes its friendship with China, he said his country will not engage in geopolitical activities that harm China's interests, and is willing to actively push for sustainable development of the relationship between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China.

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