Duterte meets Putin, Xi at APEC meet

Duterte (center), Xi (left) and Putin, who invited the Philippine leader to visit Russia.

LIMA, Peru — President Rodrigo Duterte had a hectic schedule before the formal opening of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting when he made two separate bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jin Ping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The President first met with Chinese President Xi who requested for the meeting to follow through the memoranda of understanding (MOUs) signed by the Philippines and China during the Philippine leader’s state visit to China.

In a statement, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. said that the two countries can now fast track trade and economic relations with vigorous talks currently underway.

“I am very happy to report that we are on track on this one and we will be pushing for more vigorous talks for the purpose of implementation the broad strokes that we have arrived at when we signed these MOUs,” Secretary Yasay said.

Duterte and Xi likewise touched on the plight of Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal. The Chinese leader assured that the fishermen will continue to have free access to their traditional fishing grounds apart from offering them training such as fish culture to sustain the fishermen’s livelihood and families.

Other topics the two leaders discussed include the agricultural sector and the beefing up of China’s imports of agricultural products. They also talked about the lifting of the travel ban of Chinese tourists to the Philippines, the invitation of President Duterte for President Xi to visit the country which the latter accepted, and China’s hosting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Conference where he invited the Philippines as a participant.

President Duterte then met Russian President Vladimir Putin where both leaders agreed to foster stronger trade relationships.

“We acknowledge that in the past somehow even as we are celebrating long years of diplomatic relationship with Russia, our relationship has not really matured especially in the area of trade and investments and commercial relationships,” Yasay added.

President Duterte further explained to the Russian leader the historical basis of our present (PH-Russia) relation and why it is necessary for the Philippines to engage an independent foreign policy.

Putin also formally extended his invitation to President Duterte to visit Russia to signal the opening of more agreements between the two countries. (PNA)