Duterte, Xi may talk about South China Sea issue in bilateral meeting
President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping may discuss about the South China Sea, including the proposed joint exploration in the disputed waters, during their bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia in China.
Duterte will visit China and Hong Kong from April 9 to 12.
"(T)he President will hold a bilateral meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss ways to further enhance the bilateral relationship between the Philippines and China," said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Manuel Antonio Teehankee.
"On this issue, I don’t have the details of the bilateral meeting. But we can expect that pursuant to the follow-up from the March meeting that any joint exploration will be based on prudent principles that will be beneficial to the Philippines and China and to the Asia Pacific region in general," he said when asked if the two leaders will discuss the issue on joint exploration.
The South China Sea issue might not be discussed in the BFA being an economic forum, he said.
"However, at the bilateral meeting, this (South China sea dispute) may come up as well," Tehankee said.
He said Duterte and Xi are also expected to tackle other pressing issues as well as common threats, such as violent extremism and terrorism and cross-border traffic of illegal narcotics.
Duterte will address the opening of plenary of the BFA to be held also on April 10.
After the China forum, Duterte will proceed to Hong Kong to meet with the members of the Filipino community.
Duterte will return to Manila on April 12. Celerina Monte/DMS