Duterte to hold bilateral talks with China's Xi this April

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President Duterte is set to hold a bilateral talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping this April.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 6) — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Hainan province of China on April 10, Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Manuel Teehankee announced in a press briefing earlier today.

Teehankee said the President will be discussing how the Philippines and China can "further enhance bilateral relations."

He added that they will also be tackling issues of violent extremism, terrorism, and cross-border traffic of illegal narcotics.

The meetings come in the wake of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano's bilateral discussion with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on March 21 regarding the joint gas and oil exploration on the South China Sea. They will also be conducted parallel to the President's attendance in the Boao Forum for Asia plenary on the same day.

Previous meetings

This is not the first time the President decided to conduct bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart.

President Duterte expressed his interest in resolving the long-standing South China Sea dispute through bilateral talks back in November 2017. This was a shift from his initial position to conduct multilateral discussions.

READ: Duterte admin open to multilateral talks on South China Sea issue - Yasay

During his visit to Vietnam for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, President Duterte brought up the territorial issue to President Xi which led to an agreement between both parties to have a "safe passage for all" in the South China Sea.

READ: Duterte: China guarantees safe passage in South China Sea

Teehankee said the South China Sea dispute may come up again in the upcoming bilateral meeting.

"On this (South China Sea dispute), I think the President has been very clear that he maintains the Philippine position, and the meetings are based on mutual respect and equality among nations," Teehankee said.