China will work with the Philippines to further consolidate bilateral ties for an even brighter future for the two countries and all of Asia, President Xi Jinping said in a signed article published by local newspapers in the Southeast Asian country on Monday.
Xi will arrive in Manila for a two-day state visit on Tuesday at the invitation of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, following his visits to Papua New Guinea and Brunei.
In the article titled "Open Up New Future Together for China-Philippines Relations", Xi said the two countries have re-engaged in dialogue and consultation on the proper handling of the South China Sea issue since President Duterte took office in June 2016. "Our relations have now seen a rainbow after the rain."
He called on the two sides to deepen political mutual trust, saying China wishes to work with the Philippines to draw up blueprints for their future relations.
"We need to properly handle differences through friendly consultations, enhance dialogue and cooperation on maritime issues and make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation that truly benefits our two peoples," he said.
He noted that the Philippine people are striving to implement President Duterte's 10-Point Socioeconomic Agenda and "Build, Build, Build "Strategy, while the Chinese people are working to realize the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation.
"Our shared aspirations and dreams have forged a close bond between our peoples," Xi added.
China wishes to work with the Philippines to renew the legacy of the ancient maritime Silk Road, enhance synergy between their strategies under the Belt and Road Initiative and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in business, trade, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and other fields, Xi said.
China will further deepen cooperation with the Philippines in defense, drug control, counterterrorism and law enforcement to foster a sound environment for the development of the two countries and peace and stability of our region, he added.
While calling for enhancement of people-to-people and cultural exchanges, Xi said China is ready to foster new growth drivers for partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations through closer cooperation with the Philippines, and assist with the development of Mindanao and other regions in the country.
Calling free trade and economic globalization an unstoppable trend of the times, Xi said China stands ready to share with all countries the opportunities and potential of its market. "China welcomes the Philippines and other countries on board the express train of its development."
He added that China will work with other countries to firmly uphold the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at the core and promote the evolution of the international political and economic order in a fairer and more equitable direction.
Xi highlighted China's commitment to the path of peaceful development, saying the country will always remain an anchor of peace and stability for the Asia-Pacific and the wider world. "This is neither a choice of expediency nor diplomatic rhetoric. It is our firm conviction and guidance of what we practice on the ground."
In a recent interview with Xinhua News Agency, Duterte said Xi's visit will boost the relations between the two countries. Relations between Beijing and Manila are like a flower in full bloom, he said.
Duterte said he took great pride in Xi's visit, adding that his young daughter is studying Chinese and he might ask her to sing a Chinese song for Xi.