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Xi Jinping arrives in PH for two day state visit

Xi Jinping arrives in PH for two day state visit: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Manila Tuesday morning for a two-day state visit, his first trip to the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

Xi landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) at 11:30 a.m. after his trip to Brunei Darussalam.

Xi, who is billeted in a southern Metro Manila hotel, would proceed to the Rizal Park in Manila for a wreath-laying ceremony.

The Chinese leader will then proceed to Malacañang for the usual arrival honors and will meet Duterte for the first time in Manila.

Xi’s events for the first day of his visit, which includes a bilateral meeting and a State banquet, will be in Malacañang.

On his second day, Xi will meet with House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senate President Vicente Sotto III and would also meet the Filipino-Chinese Community here.

He will leave the country on Wednesday afternoon.

Xi’s visit to Manila is his second time here after he attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in 2015.

His visit comes amid warming ties between Manila and Beijing after the two countries’ relations were strained during the Aquino administration with the maritime dispute in the South China Sea.

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated this in July 2016, favoring the Philippines’ claims in the area.

China, however, has refused to recognize the sea ruling.

Duterte has chosen to set aside the ruling and engaged China in bilateral talks.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday said Xi’s visit “marks an opportunity to further strengthen and sustain (Philippines-China) bilateral relations, which surged forward under the visionary leadership of President Duterte.” /cbb

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