China and the Philippines should proactively discuss maritime cooperation to make the South China Sea issue an opportunity for promoting bilateral friendship and cooperation, President Xi Jinping said on Saturday.
Xi made the remarks while meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of the APEC leaders meeting being held in Lima, Peru.
The Philippine president's state visit to China last month overall improved bilateral ties and "turned a new page" in China-Philippine relations, Xi said, adding that the visit "injected positive energy" for regional peace and stability.
The two countries should handle disputes properly and focus on joint development to benefit the people of both sides, Xi told Duterte.
Xi called on a joint effort with the Philippines to push forward restoration of all bilateral mechanisms. Because of the Hague arbitration case, the two countries halted exchanges in several areas until last month when Duterte visited China.
Calling his China trip fruitful, Duterte said the Philippines sticks to an independent diplomatic policy and wants to be a brother-like friend to China.
The Philippines is willing to handle maritime issues properly through dialogue and consultation with China, he said, adding that the momentum of improving bilateral ties should be maintained.
Duterte thanked China for its support in his country's development, saying that the two countries should enhance cooperation in areas including infrastructure.
By An Baijie