PRESIDENT Duterte and Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian discussed further strengthening diplomatic ties and expanding trade relations between the Philippines and China, and possibly “working together to address challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).”
Malacañang yesterday released photos and videos of the Wednesday night courtesy call of the ambassador, which was also attended by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and concurrent presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, and Sen. Christopher Go.
Malacañang said during the call, the President expressed hope for China’s continued support of his government’s socio-economic agenda, including the fast-tracking of his infrastructure program, as the two countries celebrate 45 years of diplomatic ties in June.
China’s investment in the Philippines was placed at P50.69 billion ($962 million) in 2018.
Huang reaffirmed China’s commitment to deeper cooperation with the Philippines, especially in infrastructure development.
He also acknowledged a steady progress in joint infrastructure projects over the past two years.
On the COVID-19 issue, the President expressed his sympathies to China which has at least 3,000 deaths from COVID-19 since its outbreak in Wuhan City in China’s Hubei province in December.
Duterte also extended the Philippines’ solidarity with China and the international community in addressing the global public health emergency and recognized China’s handling of the situation.
Huang expressed China’s solidarity with the Philippine government in its efforts to contain COVID-19 and conveyed China’s readiness to extend assistance to the Philippines.
He said that with Duterte’s leadership, and with the help of the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, “the (Philippine) government will emerge victorious in its fight against the virus.” – Jocelyn Montemayor