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Duterte off to Brunei, China; vows to enhance trade relations

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah is seen in file photo as he chairs an ASEAN + 3 meeting. He will be meeting President Duterte, who arrived in Brunei Sunday evening for a 2-day visit before proceeding to China. REUTERS
The online news portal of TV5

DAVAO CITY - President Rodrigo R. Duterte left on Sunday afternoon for his state visits to Brunei Darussalam and China where he will meet fellow state leaders to discuss enhancement of special ties and trade relations.

President Duterte said he will meet with Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah in Brunei Darussalam. “We will discuss further enhancing the special ties and reaffirm the enduring relations between our two countries and peoples," he said in his departure speech at Davao International Airport.

“I will seek to foster closer cooperation, especially within the context of ASEAN,” the President said.

Among the priority areas for discussion are the stronger two-way trade and investments, developing the country's Halal sector and the micro, small and medium enterprises.

The President is also set to seek a stronger joint resolve for a just and lasting peace in Mindanao along with growth and development.

"Brunei has been a steadfast partner for peace. As the Philippines enters important phases in our peace talks, Brunei will continue to play an important role," he said.

In the area of defense and security cooperation, President Duterte said he will seek collaborative undertakings in the sharing of expertise on maritime security issues as well as in capacity building.

He said he will also seek closer collaboration and mutual support in his campaign against illegal drugs, an important step towards attaining the common goal of realizing an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Drug-Free Community.

"I am also set to meet with the Filipino Community in Brunei. It will be an opportunity to thank them for their contributions to socioeconomic development and to apprise them of developments here at home," he said.

From Brunei, the President will proceed to Beijing for his first state visit to China.