President Rodrigo Duterte returned to Manila on Sunday following his fifth visit to China, where Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected him after he raised the Philippines’ arbitral win rejecting Beijing’s sweeping claims in the disputed South China Sea.
President Duterte arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City early on Sunday, where he was welcomed by military officials around 2 a.m.
He showed nothing about the arbitral ruling that spelled out the Philippines’ maritime entitlements as Xi again turned down Manila’s claim of its legal victory before the United Nations.
But Duterte brought home Xi’s agreement on the immediate creation of a binding code aimed at resolving the maritime disputes peacefully among the ASEAN countries.
Xi also agreed to the formation of a steering committee for a joint oil exploration between China and the Philippines on the potentially-rich areas in the South China Sea.
Duterte’s visit was “successful and highly productive,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
He said Duterte and Xi’s “close relationship” allowed them to have “frank exchanges” regarding the two nations’ maritime dispute, “with both of them agreeing to exercise self-restraint and observe the UNCLOS, particularly with respect to maritime navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.”
During his five-day visit, Duterte also witnessed the signing of six deals between the Philippines and China on education, science and technology, finance and customs.
In a forum, Duterte urged Chinese businessmen to invest in the Philippines as he assured them of a corruption-free business environment.
He watched the opening game of Gilas Pilipinas against Italy at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in Guangzhou province where the national team lost by 46 points.
Duterte also met with movie and martial arts superstar Jackie Chan and his former economic adviser Michael Yang in Beijing.