Xi invites Duterte to 2nd Belt & Road Forum in 2019

MANILA – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to attend the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation which China will host again in 2019.

Xi extended his invitation to Duterte as the two leaders witnessed the exchange of 29 agreements, including memorandum of understanding on Belt and Road Initiative cooperation after their expanded bilateral meeting at the Malacañang Palace.

“The two sides will seek greater complementarity between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Philippines’ development strategy move forward cooperation around the three pillars of security, development, and people-to-people ties and then make our cooperation more comprehensive and balanced,” Xi said.

Belt and Road Initiate is an ambitious effort to improve regional cooperation and connectivity which seeks to strengthen infrastructure, trade and investments and people-to-people linkages between China and some 65 other countries.

In May 2017, Duterte and 28 heads of state and government leaders attended the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

Duterte said the Philippines and China have worked hard for the last two years to lay the cornerstones for the continuous advancement of “our beneficial cooperation in a wide range of areas”.

“This afternoon, President Xi and I discussed how we can further enhance functional cooperation in key work areas, such as bilateral trade and two-way investments promotion,” Duterte said.

He said they tackled infrastructure development, particularly China’s participation in projects under Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program which aims to usher in a golden age of the country’s infrastructure.

“We also discussed our cooperation on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi, and the Philippines’ participation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative,” Duterte said. (PNA)