Duterte thanks Xi for "crucial help" in resolving Marawi crisis
President Rodrigo Duterte thanked on Saturday Chinese President Xi Jinping for China's "crucial help" in liberating Marawi City from the terrorists.
"First of all, let me thank you for your crucial help in our fight in Marawi a few weeks ago. We badly needed help and it was China who first came to our aid," Duterte said during his bilateral meeting with the Chinese leader at the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting in Vietnam.
He said that the arms that China donated to the Philippines "were very crucial and one of our snipers, sharp shooters killed [Isnilon Hapilon] using a Chinese-made sniper rifle."
Hapilon, said to be the anointed leader of the Islamic State terror group in Southeast Asia, along with the local and foreign terrorists, attacked and occupied Marawi for about five months until October.
But up to now, the government troops are still pursuing some stragglers in the city.
Duterte assured that the Philippines can be China's true friend.
Earlier, Duterte said he would also bring up with Xi the South China Sea issue and he would ask him to "hurry up" the completion of a code of conduct in the disputed waters.
The Philippines, along with other Southeast Asian countries, such as Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, China and Taiwan have been claiming partially or wholly the South China Sea. Celerina Monte/DMS