Brunei backs Philippines in war on drugs

For China, the Philippines' visit signals positive beginnings.

China's most ambitious foreign policy initiative, the Belt and Road refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road launched by the Chinese President Xi Jinping to promote economic cooperation among countries along the proposed Belt and Road routes.

"We'd like them to rediscover the Philippines, the bountiful trade and industrial hub where the Chinese traders came to long before Spanish colonization", Teo said.

He said China is a potent source of capital for much-needed infrastructure development and that the Philippines should leverage its 2 million-strong ethnic Chinese minority as a bridge to encourage Chinese investment.

Duterte was due to arrive in China later in the day with members of the Philippine business community to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to hold military drills with China but refused to do so with the United States, a long-time ally, the Chinese media quoted him on Monday.

Since his election, Duterte has been engaged in a war of words with Washington focused largely on his hardline tactics in combating drug crime in the Philippines, which the USA say violate human rights.

"Duterte is putting China on the spot", Prof De Castro said. "Hopefully, we would no longer lag far behind our Asian neighbors in terms of tourism" Teo said.

The Philippine leader said his country needs to retain its friendly relationship with China and learn from the latter's success in economics and trade, especially in times of global financial crisis.

Given the range of objectives for the Philippines during Duterte's China trip, it's unlikely that Manila will push too hard on the South China Sea. "We don't want to be caught in the trap", he said. And remember, there are only two options: We go to trouble or we talk.

China praised Duterte for his diplomatic tack in trying to peacefully resolve the South China Sea dispute through dialogue, saying he has not given in to opinions of "outside meddlers" and "war mongers".

We may get a hint that the reckoning is coming when Mr Duterte stops declaring that he doesn't like Americans, stops querying the value of his country's alliance with the U.S. and starts muttering about his jet ski again.

The visit to China by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, scheduled from Tuesday to Friday, is expected to offer an opportunity to improve the strained bilateral ties.

"If China succeeds in peeling the Philippines away from the United States, it will be a major win in Beijing's long-term campaign to weaken USA alliances in the region", said Andrew Shearer, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Chen said certain disputed islands could be included in a deal in which China would provide marine technology and funds for Filipino fishermen, a feasible way to offset their economic losses.

His arrival here also marked the 32 years since bilateral relations have been formally established between the Philippines and Brunei.

"With this visit by President Duterte, the Philippines hopes to strengthen the bilateral ties between the Philippines and China through mutual respect and honest cooperation for the prosperity and benefit of both countries and their peoples", Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Charles Jose said.

What has Duterte said about the visit?

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