China has welcomed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in a ceremony that underscored warming ties despite bitter maritime disputes.
Chinese President Xi Jinping greeted Duterte with a smile at the ceremony in Beijing on Thursday. Duterte had arrived in China on Tuesday night.
The leaders later held their first summit. They signed an agreement to strengthen economic cooperation.
China and the Philippines have conflicting claims in the South China Sea. They were sharply at odds when Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, was in office.
An international tribunal in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines in July, dismissing China’s claims.
But since taking office in June, Duterte has indicated his desire to improve relations with China. He appears to be planning to use his visit to solicit economic assistance from China.
Beijing apparently hopes to seize the opportunity to improve relations. Diplomatic sources say the Chinese government asked Manila to arrange Duterte’s trip to China before one to Tokyo.
Japan, as well as the United States, is pressing China to abide by international law to settle territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Source and image: NHK