DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that upon the invitation of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, the rotating chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Premier Li Keqiang will travel to Manila from November 12 to 16 for the series of leaders’ meetings on East Asia cooperation, including the 20th China-ASEAN (10+1) Summit, the 20th ASEAN-China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (10+3) Summit and the 12th East Asia Summit (EAS).
After these meetings, Premier Li Keqiang will pay an official visit to the Philippines and will also attend the leaders’ meeting on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on the sidelines of the series of leaders’ meetings on East Asia cooperation.
Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong said the visit marks the first overseas trip of the head of government of China after the successful conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
It is also considered as an important move at the opening stage of the neighboring diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era. “The visit is of great significance to consolidate and deepen the good neighborly and friendly cooperation between China and the Philippines, improve China-ASEAN relations, advance the process of regional cooperation in East Asia, and promote the construction of a community of shared future for Asian countries,” Xiadong said.
This year is considered as a “grand year” for regional cooperation in East Asia, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the ASEAN and the 20th anniversary of the launch of 10+3 cooperation. Next year will witness the 15th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN strategic partnership.
Premier Li Keqiang will propose nearly 30 new initiatives to deepen practical cooperation under various mechanisms, covering such areas as connectivity, food security, poverty alleviation, tourism and anti-corruption, which is expected to improve and upgrade China-ASEAN cooperation and elevate East Asia cooperation to a new level.
Since last year, China-Philippines relations have achieved a turnabout and been constantly developing towards a positive direction. This is also the first visit to the Philippines by a Chinese Premier in a decade and believed to vigorously advance bilateral relations in the new era and promote China-Philippines relations.-EZC/Newsline.ph