News Release

West Philippine Sea, European conflict, high on the agenda of President Duterte’s telephone summit with China’s Xi

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jingping tackled the West Philippine Sea (WPS), the conflict in Eastern Europe, and the coronavirus pandemic during a telephone summit on Friday, a Palace statement said.

During the one-hour summit, the two leaders agreed to exert all efforts to maintain peace, security and stability in the West Philippine Sea by exercising restraint, dissipating tensions and working on a mutually agreeable framework for functional cooperation, according to the statement.

“Both leaders acknowledged that even while disputes existed, both sides remained committed to broaden the space for positive engagements which reflected the dynamic and multidimensional relations of the Philippines and China,” it added.

Presidents Duterte and Xi likewise discussed global and regional developments, with both of them reaffirming the centrality of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and making renewed commitment to ensure regional peace, progress and prosperity.

At the same time, the two leaders emphasized the importance of continuing discussions and concluding the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea.

During their conversation, Presidents Duterte and Xi expressed deep concern over developments in other parts of the world, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They renewed their call for a peaceful resolution of the situation through dialogue in accordance with international law.

It was also agreed during the telephone summit for the Philippines and China to work closely together to address the impacts of climate change and to give voice to the developing world in all relevant climate change fora.

Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, both leaders acknowledged the importance of making vaccines available to nations that most needed them, highlighting it “as crucial to global and regional economic bounce back”.

“The leaders committed to work even more closely to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed to explore constructive ways to jumpstart interaction and exchanges through, among others, mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, streamlining health protocols and resumption of commercial flights,” the Malacañang statement said.

Friday’s telephone summit gave the Philippines and China an opportunity to review their ties over the last six years, describing the trajectory of their relations “as one that is positive and created greater space for partnership and cooperation”.

Both presidents recognized that economic and infrastructure cooperation between the two countries must be intensified, underscoring the significant growth of bilateral trade and economic exchange.

Presidents Duterte and Xi likewise agreed to further enhance two-way trade and investments, and continue supporting the Philippine government’s Build, Build, Build Program.

They also stressed the need to open up access to goods and services and work for a balance of trade that would reflect a healthy state of economic partnership.

Elevating the Philippines-China bilateral relations into a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation was also considered by the two leaders during the summit, describing it as “a milestone achievement that demonstrated the commitment of the Philippines and China to continue building on the gains of the previous years towards the future”.

Also present during the summit were Climate Change Commission Vice Chairperson Secretary Robert E.A. Borje, Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro, and Deputy Assistant Secretary Myca Magnolia Fischer of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs. PND