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Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 11:27

Philippine president-elect vows to better China ties

By Xinhua

Philippine president-elect vows to better China ties
In this photo released by the Office of the City Mayor of Davao City, presumptive president-elect Rodrigo Duterte, right, receives a copy of the book on Chinese President Xi Jinping from Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call at Davao City in the southern Philippines, May 16, 2016. (Office of the City Mayor Davao City via AP)
MANILA - Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has held talks with the Chinese ambassador, following his remarks to have bilateral talks with China over the row in the South China Sea.

Zhao Jianhua, the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, said after his meeting with Duterte on Monday afternoon that China expects to work with the Philippine government to "properly deal with the differences, deepen traditional friendship and promote mutually beneficial cooperation, so as to bring the bilateral relations forward."

Zhao said China and the Philippines are good neighbors and that China is looking forward to working with the Philippines and the new government to further enhance the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Zhao told reporters after his meeting with Duterte that Duterte has expressed his willingness to improve and develop relations between China and the Philippines, and strengthen bilateral cooperation to benefit peoples of the two countries.

Relations between China and the Philippines worsened during President Benigno Aquino's six-year rule over the South China Sea dispute.

The Philippines unilaterally initiated an arbitration case against China in January 2013 over the issue with the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.

Duterte said on Sunday that he wanted to cultivate friendly relations with China, and confirmed that he was open to direct talks over the row in the South China Sea that has badly damaged bilateral relations.

"If the ship of negotiations is in still waters and there is no wind to push the sail, I might just decide to talk bilaterally with China," Duterte said.

In the just wrapped-up elections in the Philippines, Duterte has won a large portion of an almost 16 million votes.

He is poised to become the 16th president of the Philippines. He will be sworn into office on June 30 after the congress confirm his victory.

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