Duterte seeks stronger ties with Brunei, China

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /16 October) – President Rodrigo Duterte will seek stronger ties with Brunei and China on peace, security and defense, trade, and investments.

In his pre-departure speech at the Davao International Airport, Duterte said the development of halal sector and micro, small and medium enterprises will be key areas of discussion with the Brunei’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.

“We will discuss with Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkia on enhancing the special ties and reaffirm the enduring relation between our two countries and peoples,” he said.

He said he will seek to foster closer ties with Brunei by intensifying trade and investment within the sphere of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Duterte highlighted Brunei’s role in attaining long-lasting peace in Mindanao.

“Brunei has been a steadfast partner for peace. Brunei will continue to play an important role,” he said.

Brunei is a member of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) that is mandated to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

After Brunei, Duterte will proceed to China and meet with Chinese President Xi Jingping and other key senior Chinese officials.

He said this year marked the country’s 41st year of partnership with China.

“This is the first state visit of Philippine president to Beijing since 2011, which signals a key turning point in both our histories. I will look forward to renewing the ties of friendship and work between the Philippines and China and to reaffirm the commitment to work closer to achieve shared goals for our countries and peoples,” he said.

He added that he will exchange views with China’s president to improve their bilateral relations and determine possible areas where both countries can work together.

“In both state visits, we will continue to espouse cooperative and collaboration, friendly relations on the basis on sovereign equality, non-interference and mutual respect. In all my dealings, I will remain true to the constitutional mandate reposed on me to pursue and independent foreign policy and to uphold the national interest of the Philippines” (see other story), he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)