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Philippine president meets defense minister on ties

Updated: Sep 11,2020 09:24 PM    Xinhua

MANILA — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte met with visiting State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Sept 11 and both sides discussed the bilateral relations and regional issues.

Duterte said the Chinese delegation is the first foreign high-level delegation to visit the Philippines since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, showing that China attaches great importance to bilateral relations between the two countries.

He extended his congratulations to China on its success in containing the COVID-19 outbreak under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.

Duterte also expressed sincere gratitude to the Chinese government and military for the assistance to his country after the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines.

Maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea serves the common interests of all regional countries, he said, adding that the Philippines hopes all parties would resolve the differences and disputes through friendly communication on the basis of respect for international law, so as to achieve the longstanding peace and stability in the South China Sea.

For his part, Wei said China and the Philippines have enjoyed a long history of friendship. Under the guidance of leaders of the two countries, China-Philippines relations have witnessed new developments, he said.

China and the Philippines have supported each other during the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting the spirit of helping each other and good-neighborliness, he added.

Wei said the Chinese military is willing to deepen practical cooperation with the Philippine military.

Safeguarding the stability in the South China Sea is a shared responsibility of China and the Philippines, he said, adding that the two countries should adhere to the principle that regional issues should be solved by the regional countries through consultation, strengthen communication and coordination, properly manage differences, and jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the South China Sea.

Earlier on the morning of Sept 11, Wei met with Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, during which the two sides exchanged views on issues including international and regional situation, the relations between the two countries and two militaries as well as the South China Sea issue.