MANILA — Chang Wanquan, State Councilor and Defense Minister, said in his talks with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte late on Oct 25 that China is willing to broaden and deepen pragmatic cooperation with the Philippines.
“China seeks to enhance strategic mutual trust with the Philippines, properly handle differences, and push for sustained and healthy relationships between our two countries, as we are neighbors,” Chang said here at Malacanang, Philippine Presidential Palace, where he paid a visit to President Duterte.
Duterte noted that the Philippines attaches great importance to developing relations with China and he expressed his thanks to China for providing precious support to the development of Philippines, especially in its efforts to fight against terrorism in Marawi in southern Philippines.
Philippine government forces have just ended their combat operations against terrorists in Marawi after five months of fighting, in which about 1,200 people were killed, including 961 extremists and 165 soldiers and policemen. The conflict has also inflicted huge economic losses.
China donated dump trucks, cement mixers, excavators and bulldozers valued at around $3 million for the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi and officially handed over the equipment to the Philippines this week.
In his talks with Chang, Duterte said that the Philippines is also willing to deepen its friendship and cooperation with China, and properly handle the South China Sea issue through dialogues, consultations and friendly cooperation, so as to benefit the two peoples.
Chang was in the Philippines attending the 11th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and the 4th ADMM-Plus in Clark, Pampanga, as the Philippines is chair of ASEAN this year.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or the ASEAN, groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. ADMM-Plus includes ASEAN’s eight dialogue partners — Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.