Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte review the guard of honour. (Photo: Reuters)

Hanoi (VNA) – China and the Philippines on November 20 agreed to upgrade their ties to a comprehensive strategic cooperation.

The decision was made during talks between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte.

Both leaders discussed the thriving bilateral trade and investment relations as well as China’s participation in the Southeast Asian country’s 180 billion USD “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure project.

Xi said that he and his Philippine counterpart Duterte reached consensus on the continued settlement of their divergence.

Earlier, the two leaders witnessed the signing of 29 cooperation deals in various fields, including education, culture and industrial park development, to branch out infrastructure and agricultural cooperatives.

This was the first state visit of a Chinese leader to the Philippines in the past 13 years. Xi’s visit is deemed as an important milestone in the bilateral relations, which were recovered after President Duterte took office in 2016.

The bilateral ties plunged to its lowest when the Philippines filed a suit against China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague related to China’s irrational claim over the “nine-dash line” in 2013. In December 2016, the court announced China has no historic rights over the waters inside the line and its claim is in contrast with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).-VNA