On Tuesday, China’s president Xi Jinping arrived in the Philippines on an official visit to strengthen relations with president Rodrigo Duterte's regime.
“Our relations have now seen a rainbow after the rain,” wrote Xi Jinping in a Xinhua news agency article.
In recent years, relations amongst both countries have significantly improved in the areas of defense, energy, agriculture, fishery, science, and technology, boosting diplomacy and trade amongst the Asian nations.
For his part, Duterte has been vocal about “reorienting” his foreign policy away from the United States and towards China. The leader affirmed his belief that China is “encouraging” trade amongst both nations.
Tourism is an area where relations have been flourishing: 972,000 Chinese nationals visited the Philippines in 2017.
Xi highlighted historical ties in his article concerning the visit to the Philippines, “The exchange of ships and merchants between our two countries began more than a thousand years ago.
Over 600 years ago, Chinese navigator Zheng He made multiple visits to the Manila Bay, Visayas, and Sulu on his seven overseas voyages seeking friendship and cooperation.”
“Since President Duterte took office, China and the Philippines have re-engaged in dialogue and consultation for the proper handling of the South China Sea issue,” stated Xi referring to reaching a common ground with Duterte on the geopolitical situation of the South China Sea.
The two countries had previously been sparring over this issue.
However, Duterte’s “pivot” has led to a decrease in tensions between both nations, according to the PhilStar news agency.