Duterte eyes enhanced ties with Brunei, China 16 Oct. 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte hopes to forge stronger diplomatic and economic cooperation with Brunei and China as he embarks on state visits to the country’s Asian neighbors this week.

The President, who left for Brunei Sunday afternoon, October 16, said he will meet Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah to discuss enhancing the two countries’ special ties and reaffirm the enduring relations between their peoples.

“I will seek to foster closer cooperation, especially within the context of ASEAN,” he said in his departure speech at the Davao International Airport.

Among the priorities will be intensifying two-way trade and investments, and developing the halal sector and micro,small and medium-enterprises (MSMEs), he said.

To spur regional growth and development, the President said he will seek to strengthen joint resolve at securing just and lasting peace in Mindanao, noting Brunei has always been a steadfast partner in the  peace process with Muslim rebel groups.

The President also eyes to boost defense and security cooperation between the Philippines and Brunei, and at the same time, seek collaborative undertakings to fight the spread of illegal drugs in the ASEAN.

Duterte will also meet with the Filipino Community, which he said, will be an opportunity for him to thank them for their contributions to the country’s socio-economic development.

After Brunei, President Duterte will proceed to China to meet President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and National People’s Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang.

“This is the first state visit of a Philippine President to Beijing since 2011 and signals a key turning point in both our histories,” the President said.

“I look forward to renewing the ties of friendship between the Philippines and China and to reaffirm the commitment to work closer to achieve shared goals for our countries and peoples,” he added.

This year marks the 41st anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and the Philippines and the President said they will look at the sum total of their relationship.

His China trip seeks ways to strengthen cooperation, Duterte said, particularly to intensify two-way trade and investments and to further improve over-all bilateral relations. PND