BEIJING, March 27 (ChinaMil) -- Manila Bulletin reported on March 24 that the Philippine President Duterte revealed that he has sent an invitation to the Chinese naval fleet for a visit to the Philippines and he will board the Chinese warship during the friendly visit.
President Duterte once boarded a visiting Russian battleship in January in an attempt to seek more close relations with Moscow, reported by Siongpo.
“China will send one of its biggest ships. I told the ambassador of China that I will board it,” Duterte said during a gathering of lawyers in Pasay City last Thursday night, according to the report.
He also mentioned that only three cabinet members were on the visiting USS Carl Vinson of the U.S. "I sent Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II joined the US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim because he hasn't been on a ship before," said Duterte.
Duterte didn't reveal the specific date of Chinese naval fleet's visit. At a regular press conference on March 24, when asked whether China will accept Philippine's invitation, Hua Chunying, the spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that military exchanges and cooperation are an important part of China-Philippines relations.
With the improvement of bilateral relations, China is willing to cooperate with the Philippines, Hua noted. "As for the visit, as far as I'm concerned, the two sides are maintaining communications on this matter," said Hua.
As for the raised concerns expressed by the Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier this month about a Chinese survey ship that was spotted in the territory known to be rich in mineral and gas, Duterte said that he has allowed Chinese activities there.
Duterte expressed on March 23 that he is open to sharing the resources in the South China Sea with China, according to a report by ABS-CBN on March 24.
Disclaimer: The author is Bai Yunyi, reporter from the Global Times. The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and don't represent views of the China Military Online website.