China’s foreign ministry announces visit, which comes at the invitation of President Xi Jinping

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit China from October 18 to 21 at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, China’s foreign ministry said on its website on Wednesday.

It did not provide any further details.

Relations between Manila and Washington have soured in recent days due the America’s censure of Duterte over the rise in alleged extra judicial killings following Duterte’s election.

Philippine media have reported that Duterte and 250 Filipino business executives are heading to China to discuss partnership prospects.

“China has repeatedly invited me. I have accepted the offer,” Duterte told reporters, announcing the visit.

Duterte’s China visit is already oversubscribed, with business and government officials all eager to discuss multi-sector economic cooperation with Beijing.

There were initially supposed to be fewer industry professionals, but the number has gone up to 250, Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado told Reuters, adding that the delegation’s unusual size is due to the fact that the meeting had only been agreed on a month ago.

Sour relations

The Philippines Defense chief last week said that 107 US troops operating drones surveilling Moro militants in the south will also have to leave the country soon, following the announcement that plans for joint US-Philippines patrols and naval exercises in the disputed South China Sea had been put on hold.

Duterte said he wants an ongoing US-Philippine amphibious beach landing drill to be the last in his six-year presidency, with plans to halt all the 28 military exercises carried out with US forces every year.

“This year would be the last,” Duterte pledged on Friday in Davao in the southern Philippines, AP reported.

“For as long as I am there, do not treat us like a doormat because you’ll be sorry for it,” he added. “I will not speak with you. I can always go to China.”

The outspoken Philippines leader said his US counterpart Barack Obama, whom he has previously publicly called a “son-of-a-[expletive],” should “go to hell.”

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