Manila suspends classes, office work for Xi Jinping visit on Nov 20


As friendly neighbors across the sea, China and the Philippines enjoy geographical proximity and a strong bond that links the two peoples and cultures, Xi said.

Two Philippine officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Duterte's administration would likely sign a memorandum of understanding to support Beijing's "Belt and Road Initiative", an ambitious infrastructure loan program that has been criticized by the United States as endangering debtor nations to debt bondage and could compromise their independence.

Reps. Luis Raymund Villafuerte of Camarines Sur, Raneo Abu of Batangas, Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur and Rodolfo Albano III of Isabela said they look forward to the long-term cooperation plan between China and the Philippines.

Earlier, the Palace announced that Xi accepted Duterte's invitation to undertake a state visit to the Philippines.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said "friendship and winning cooperation" is the "only correct choice" for the Philippines and China.

"There's friction between China and Western nations", Duterte said last week, noting that the Philippines doesn't want to see any miscalculation.

"These two countries that once ended up at an global tribunal have now sat down and reached a deal through talks".

China is claiming a vast portion of the South China Sea as part of its territory, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration Tribunal in The Hague invalidated this claim in 2016.

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However, even before Xi's expected arrival Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of protestors descended on the Chinese embassy to voice opposition to closer ties with Beijing.

The Philippines in the past has taken a strong line on China's behavior in the disputed sea, even taking China to an worldwide tribunal.

President Rodrigo Duterte has chosen to set aside the ruling in exchange for better economic ties with Asia's largest economy. His recent statement that China is now "in possession" of the South China Sea, however, has alarmed critics and observers.

A survey of 1,500 adults released by research institute Social Weather Stations found 84 per cent of Filipinos disagreed with taking a laissez-faire approach to Beijing's moves to build infrastructure and install military equipment in the strategic waters.

In opening remarks during their talks, Duterte described Xi's visit as a "historic occasion", while Xi said it would be a "milestone in the history of exchange between our two countries".

Dominguez said the proposed financing agreements for projects to be signed during Xi's visit were now being reviewed by different departments.

Beijing's relations with Manila stagnated over long-seething territorial rifts in the South China Sea until Duterte won the presidency in mid-2016 and rebuilt ties with China while often pillorying US security policies in a dramatic pivot.

Xi also said the two nations would cooperate on law enforcement.