Chinese premier arrives in Philippines for East Asia leaders’ meetings

MANILA (Xinhua) – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived yesterday for an official visit to the Philippines and a series of leaders’ meetings on East Asian cooperation.

During his five-day stay, Li is scheduled to attend the 20th China-Asean (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) (10+1) leaders’ meeting, the 20th Asean-China, Japan and Republic of Korea (10+3) leaders’ meeting and the 12th East Asia Summit.

This is Li’s first overseas trip since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and is expected to deepen friendly cooperation with the Philippines, promote China-Asean ties and enhance regional cooperation in East Asia, Chinese authorities said ahead of the visit.

In Manila, Li will brief the leaders on the spirits of the 19th CPC National Congress as well as China’s stance and policy on cooperation in East Asia, said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong in a press briefing earlier this week.

The Chinese premier will propose nearly 30 new initiatives under various mechanisms to deepen practical cooperation on interconnectivity, food security, poverty reduction, tourism and anti-corruption, Chen added.

File photo shows Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Beijing, China. – AP

In addition, Li will attend the leaders’ meeting on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade pact involving the 10 Asean members and six other countries – China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

During the visit, the Chinese premier will also hold talks with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on bilateral ties and issues of common concern.

In a signed article published by major Philippine newspapers prior to his trip, Li said he hoped the visit would help enhance the friendship between the two peoples, deepen bilateral cooperation and open new prospects for China-Philippines relations.

It is the first visit to the Philippines made by a Chinese premier in 10 years.