• Melo Acuna

Chinese Defense Minister Wei calls on President Duterte

President Duterte welcomes Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte met with visiting General Wei Fenghe, State Councilor and Defense Minister when the latter paid his courtesy call in Malacanang Palace this afternoon.

In a statement released by the Office of the President, President Duterte welcomed the positive developments in Philippines-China defense and security cooperation. He acknowledged China’s continuing support for the Philippines’ defense modernization since 2017. He cited the signing of the “Protocol between the Department of National Defense of the Philippines and the Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China on China’s Provision of Military Assistance Gratis to the Philippines.”

Emphasizing the need to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea (SCS), President Duterte said “we must always be guided by our commitments in international law. Any and all disputes must be resolved peacefully in full accord with the UNCLOS and all relevant international instruments.”

President Duterte underscored the importance of concluding an effective and substantive Code of Conduct stressing that when completed, this will be an important and lasting legacy of the ASEAN and China in ensuring peace, security and stability in the area.

He said the South China Sea’s strategic importance as a vital sea lane where navigational and other freedoms under international law are guaranteed, President Duterte said “all relevant players with a stake there must see themselves as playing an important stabilizing role.”

In the same vein, State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei expressed his gratitude to President Duterte for the opportunity for the courtesy call and conveyed the importance with which President Xi Jinping and China accord relations with President Duterte and the Philippines.

Minister Wei said his country is ready to work with the Philippines on maritime cooperation, advance negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and manage the differences in order to secure peace and stability in the South China Sea.

State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei is in Manila as part of his tour of ASEAN countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. (Melo M. Acuña)

President Rodrigo Duterte (right) returns the salute of General Wei Fenghe, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense (left) while Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian (center) looks on. (left photo). Right photo shows Duterte talking with General Wei Fenghe (extreme left) during the latter's courtesy call late Friday afternoon at Malacanang Palace. Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana also joined the call. (Presidential Photos/PCOO)

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