Philippines, China may sign 5 deals during Duterte's attendance to Belt and Road forum
The Philippines and China may sign five agreements during President Rodrigo Duterte's attendance to Second Belt and Road forum in Beijing later this week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.
In a press briefing in Malacanang, DFA Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Meynardo Montealegre said Duterte would hold separate bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang at the sidelines of the forum scheduled on April 25 to 27.
"We're looking at five probably," Montealgre said when asked of the number of deals to be signed.
The bilateral agreements would be in the areas of education, anti-corruption, official development assistance, and drug rehabilitation.
Asked if the South China Sea issue, particularly the presence of Chinese vessels in the Philippine-claimed Pag-asa Island would be discussed during Duterte's meeting with the Chinese leaders, Montealegre said, "As far as the South China Sea, the Spratlys that you have mentioned, the President has always been saying that we will stick to Philippine interest and positions but as I said I cannot pre-empt to what the specific discussion…"
He said Duterte and Xi are expected "to chart the course of further development of bilateral relations in various areas like defense, security, economics, and development as well as regional and international issues of mutual importance."
As to Duterte's meeting with Li, he said they are expected to discuss more detailed cooperation in various areas, including infrastructure, trade and investment, people-to-people relations as well as regional cooperation.
During the forum, Duterte would be one of the lead speakers at the Leaders' Roundtable on April 27.
Some 40 world leaders, including members of the international organizations, would participate in the Chinese-led forum. Celerina Monte/DMS