President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night left for his fifth visit to Beijing upon the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s former aide, said the President departed Manila at around 6:45 p.m.
According to a Palace statement, Duterte will meet with Xi in Beijing “to take stock of developments in bilateral relations and in the region”.
“The Leaders are expected to exchange views on further deepening and broadening bilateral engagement in areas of interest to both countries, such as defense and security, infrastructure and development cooperation, and energy, in order to strengthen the Philippines’ and China’s Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation,” it added.
Malacañang also bared that several key agreements are expected to be signed during Duterte’s five-day visit.
“Duterte is expected to grace a dinner banquet to be hosted by Xi,” the statement read.
After his engagement with Xi, Duterte will also meet Premier Li Keqiang to agree on ways to intensify Philippines-China economic ties, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and ASEAN-China cooperation.
Finally, Duterte will be received by Vice President Wang Qishan and the top political leaders of Guangdong Province.
Wang will accompany Duterte in watching the first game of the Gilas Pilipinas’ men’s team against Italy in the 2019 FIBA World Cup at the Foshan International Sports Cultural Center in Foshan City, Guangdong.
Earlier, Duterte said he would raise the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling with Xi. In 2016, the PCA nullified China’s nine-dash line map covering nearly the entire South China Sea.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte will also bring up the June 9 Recto bank incident where a Chinese vessel rammed and abandoned a Filipino fishing boat; and the 60-40 sharing arrangement on the proposed joint exploration for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea.