Top Chinese Diplomat, Philippine Official Vow To Boost Partnership

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano before delivering his fourth State of the Nation Address at the Philippine Congress in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines July 22, 2019.
(Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua has given his assurance to newly-elected Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano that China is ready to cooperate with their Filipino counterparts to boost the two countries' friendship.

The Chinese envoy on Tuesday called Cayetano and congratulated him for his election as House Speaker. In a statement issued by the Chinese Embassy, Zhao highlighted his government's willingness to "work jointly" with the House leader.

Cayetano expressed his gratitude to his Chinese counterpart and thanked China for the country's support for the social and economic development of the Philippines, saying he would "firmly follow a friendly policy" towards the country, the Chinese embassy said.

Cayetano made the remarks during a meeting with the Chinese diplomat on Tuesday, the Chinese Embassy said. Zhao likewise relayed to the Speaker the congratulatory message of Li Zhanshu, chairman of Committee of the National People's Congress of China (NPC).

The Chinese Embassy statement added that Zhao appreciates the "significant contributions that Cayetano has made in fostering China-Philippines ties," and as a good friend of the people of China.

Cayetano added he would also look forward to strengthening cooperation with the Chinese people's congress, and bring the two countries' "comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level."

Aside from Li, Zhao also relayed the cordial greetings and congratulatory message of Chinese Councilor and Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi to Cayetano, who said it was a "real pleasure" to receive such message. The former secretary of foreign affairs, Cayetano has earlier been described by Wang as one of the best friends of China.

President Rodrigo Duterte has openly showed his support for Cayetano, who won the election for Speaker on July 22 after a long-fought race for the House of Representatives' top post. 

Cayetano is expected to serve in this capacity for 15 months, after which he would voluntarily cease authority to give way for Lord Allan Velasco, the congressman from Marinduque, who would serve in the next 21 months.

Meanwhile, China and the Philippines vowed to boost efforts on Tuesday to enhance their mutually assured partnership.

The agreement was reached by Wang and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign leader's meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Chinese state councilor stressed that China and the Philippines need to strengthen the synergy between the two countries' Belt and Road program and "Build, Build, Build" initiative, hasten mutual efforts in telecommunications, infrastructure and oil, and gas explorations, Chinese news agency Xinhua News reported.

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