Roque: Duterte invited Xi Jinping to his home in Davao

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Chinese President Xi Jinping could be the second head of state to visit President Duterte's home in Davao, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 9) — President Rodrigo Duterte had invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to his home in Davao City, his spokesperson revealed Thursday.

"I remember in China the President even invited him not just to come to the Philippines but to come to his house and have dinner in his house in Davao," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Malacañang media briefing.

Duterte met with Xi at the sidelines of the Boao forum in China last April. Malacañang and the Department of Foreign Affairs have confirmed that Xi is visiting the country by yearend, after the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Papua New Guinea in November.

Xi could be the second head of state to set foot in Duterte's house after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who toured the Matina home in January 2017.

Duterte openly expressed his fondness for the two Asian leaders, saying he "simply [loves] Xi Jinping," and calling Abe a "special friend who's closer than a brother."

Duterte has been criticized for pursuing friendly ties with China amid the long-standing dispute on the South China Sea.

China has refused to recognize the July 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated its sweeping claims in the South China Sea and awarded to the Philippines islands within the country's 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone or the West Philippine Sea. Duterte promised to bring the matter up with China during his term.

Roque said the agreement for the planned joint exploration by the Philippines and China for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea may be forged prior to Xi's visit.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the draft framework may be out by September.