Duterte, Putin reaffirm support to Xi’s BRI

BEIJING – President Rodrigo Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin were among the heads of states that have expressed their support to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s aim of moving forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Duterte and Putin delivered their remarks during the kick-off of the leaders’ meeting at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) here Friday.

Both affirmed that the China-led BRI is in synergy with the vision of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which the Philippines is a member state, as well as the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union.

“To the extent, the Belt and Road Forum, complements ASEAN and our national development initiatives, including the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity, and creates an environment conducive to productive bilateral undertakings, the Philippines shall continue to participate, contribute, and cooperate,” Duterte said in his speech during the BRF High-Level Meeting Friday afternoon.
Duterte was the ASEAN chair in 2017.

“Through ASEAN, we have achieved regional peace and common development. We have become the fulcrum of the regional architecture, respected by all powers for the leadership that only we — nations with no strategic design but that only of peace — can provide,” he added.

Duterte emphasized that this is also the Philippines’ premise in engaging with the world, while pursuing its independent foreign policy, as well as upholding and defending the open and rules-based international order.

“I reaffirm my country’s commitment to the collective vision of common prosperity through cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and as equal sovereign states,” the Chief Executive said.

“With the Belt and Road program, this forum we have is an opportunity to redefine international cooperation. This is the key to sustained growth,” he added.

Duterte arrived in Beijing Wednesday evening.

On Thursday, he had bilateral talks with Xi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and witnessed the signing of government-to-government agreements.

After his participation in the opening ceremony and high-level meeting of BRF this day, Duterte will meet with Filipino and Chinese businessmen who just signed business agreements amounting to more than USD10 billion. (PNA)