President Duterte vows to deepen ties with China, other ASEAN groups

DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte arrived on Tuesday, May 16, in the Philippines from his official visits to Cambodia and China, and working visit in Hong Kong, promised to look for ways to further strengthen collaboration with China and other Southeast Asian nations.

In his arrival speech, President Duterte underscored his mandate to build a solid foundation in infrastructure projects in the Philippines to harness domestic and foreign investments for the development of the nation.

“Our commitment to provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive where criminality is addressed, corruption is curbed and contractual obligations are complied,” Duterte said.

He added that both the Philippines and China vowed to strengthen both nations’ friendship and to mutually benefit partnerships on a broad range of areas.

“We resolved to fully use the mechanisms we have established to dialogue openly, monitor progress and ensure implementation of projects,” Duterte said, adding that both Philippines and China are expected to have an inaugural meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea later this month.

“This is one step forward in peacefully managing disputes. With the signing of four key agreements on Economic and Technical Cooperation, Human Resource Development, Energy and News Publishing, we continue to look for ways to deepen collaboration,” Duterte said, assuring that the Philippine government is looking forward to expand partnerships in Southeast Asian nations.

The Chief Executive also assured that the people’s welfare will always be at the center of the government’s agenda.

“As your President, my mandate is not only to build infrastructure but it is to build a strong and progressive nation. I will remain faithful and committed to this solemn vow,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Duterte said during the press conference that he was open to the possible addition of Mongolia and Turkey to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), pointing out both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat have already expressed their interest in joining the organization.###PND