PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping will have a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Hainan, China on Tuesday.
In a Palace pre-departure press briefing, Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Manuel Teehankee said the meeting’s final agenda is still being processed, but the two leaders would discuss ways to further enhance the two countries’ bilateral ties.
“The two leaders will also discuss ways to collaborate on jointly addressing pressing issues, as well as common threats, such as violent extremism and terrorism and cross-border traffic of illegal narcotics,” Teehankee said.
He said Duterte and Xi are also set to discuss further collaboration and cooperation as a follow-up to last month’s meeting between Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Beijing.
“We can expect that pursuant to the follow-up from the March meeting that any joint exploration will be based on prudent principles that will be beneficial to the Philippines and China, and to the Asia Pacific region in general,” Teehankee said.
He said the West Philippine Sea dispute “may come up as well” during the bilateral meeting, the third between the two leaders, but the first since Xi got a fresh mandate as president of the world’s second largest economy last March 17.
Teehankee said Duterte’s meeting with Xi will take place also on Tuesday after the BFA plenary session, where the Philippine Chief Executive will deliver a speech.
“Addressing the BFA Plenary is a singular privilege for the Philippines and a privilege for acknowledging the President’s role and leadership in Asia and the ASEAN region,” he said.
As in previous international forums he attended, Duterte might take the opportunity to hold separate meetings with other leaders, according to Teehankee.
Aside from Duterte, other invited heads of state are those from Austria, Mongolia, Pakistan, Singapore, and The Netherlands, as well as United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde.
The BFA, Asia’s version of the World Economic Forum, was first conceptualized in 1998 by then president Fidel V. Ramos, Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, and Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa.
Bannered by the theme “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity”, the BFA was launched in February 2001 with 26 participating countries. Today, the BFA already has 29 member nations.
Teehankee said Duterte “sees the goals of the forum as parallel and complementary to his own vision of a developed Philippines and a more prosperous Filipino nation, as well as a more prosperous ASEAN economic region”.
“President Duterte looks forward to actively engaging his counterparts to create positive outcomes that will benefit the Filipino people in particular and the Asia-Pacific region in general,” he said.
After the BFA, Duterte will travel to Hong Kong to meet with members of the Filipino community.
“He is eager to see and hear firsthand the concerns and the situation of our kababayans (fellow Filipinos) in Hong Kong,” Teehankee said.
The President will return to Manila on April 12.