Li Keqiang: Ties between China and PH as warm as temperature in Manila
9:59 pm | Wednesday, November 15th, 2017
Li Keqiang and Rodrigo Duterte - Malacañang - 15 Nov 2017

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sit together before making their joint statement in Malacañang on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (Photo from an RTVM video)

Relations between the Philippines and China is as warm as the the temperature in Manila, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Monday during his visit to Malacañang.

Li made the remark during a joint news conference with President Rodrigo Duterte, with whom he had a bilateral meeting.

“Winter has come to the northern hemisphere, but the temperature in Manila is still running pretty high,” Li said, speaking through an interpreter. “I think that somewhat reflects the temperature of China-Philippine relations which is also going pretty high on the basis of the positive improvement of the relations between the two counties.”

Li said he hoped the Philippines and China would cooperate to strengthen “this positive momentum” in their relations.

“We hope that we will continue to work together to strengthen this positive momentum and work together to make up for the time we might have lost,” he said.

The Philippines strained its relations with China after it questioned the expansive claims of Beijing in the South China Sea.

The Philippines won its case against maritime case against China before Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, but Beijing refused to recognize the victory.

Duterte said he would set aside the ruling for now as he sought friendly ties with China.

In their joint statement, Duterte assured Li of “a more robust, more productive relations in the days to come.”

“We are gratified by the so many things you’ve done so far. You have proven to be a good friend of the Philippines,” he said.

“I am pleased to note the positive turnaround and vigorous momentum of Philippines-China relations,” he added. “ Mutual trust and confidence-building have led to increased interaction on many levels of our two governments.” /atm

Tags: 31st ASEAN summit , ASEAN , ASEAN 2017 , Li Keqiang , Maritime Dispute , Rodrigo Duterte , South China , West Philippine Sea

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