A "win-win cooperation" between the Philippines and China would ensure "greater peace, progress, and prosperity" between the 2 countries, President Rodrigo Duterte and his counterpart Xi Jinping said Wednesday.
Duterte said the 46th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two sides this year "reminds us of the deep and abiding friendship between the Filipino-Chinese peoples."
Xi, meanwhile, has committed to advance relations and achieve "greater win-win results" with the Philippines in a letter addressed to Duterte.
Xi said China and the Philippines are "friendly neighbors with time-honored friendship."
"In recent years, with concerted efforts of both sides, China-Philippines relations have maintained health and stable development, bringing tangible benefits to our two peoples," the Chinese leader wrote.
"I attach great significance to the development of China-Philippines relations, and stand ready to work with you in guiding our bilateral relations to move forward in a sustained and steady manner, so as to achieve greater win-win results and mutual benefits," he added.
Duterte has pursued friendly ties with China despite Beijing's continuing incursions within Philippine territory, as the two countries are locked in a dispute over resource-rich West Philippine Sea.
"It is a bond that predates, by centuries, the formal establishment of diplomatic relations 46 years ago," Duterte said in a taped message before the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc (FFCCCII) that led a celebration of the event.
"As we approach the 50th anniversary of Philippines-China ties, win-win cooperation will ensure that our relations remain a partnership for greater peace, progress, and prosperity," he added.
Once frosty ties between Beijing and Manila thawed under Duterte, who has pursued investments and loans from China and shelved an arbitral ruling that junked its expansive claims in the South China Sea, which encroached into Philippine waters.
The maritime dispute flared again in March after some 200 Chinese ships swarmed the WPS, the country's exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea. Beijing denied that the vessels were manned by militia.
At the height of the issue, Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque said the Philippines has not lost any territory to China under the current administration.
"His policy is to set aside what is disagreed upon, and push forward with what can be agreed on. That is effective in protecting the integrity of our national territory," he said of Duterte's approach towards Beijing.
Duterte last month called the Philippine arbitral victory in an international court "a scrap of paper" that he said could be thrown into a wastebasket. He later said he would not pull back Philippine ships from contested waters.
Earlier, Duterte said the Philippines would continue to pursue mutually beneficial bilateral relations with China.
Duterte has consistently called China a dependable friend especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, the majority of the Philippines's COVID-19 vaccine supply was either donated by China or procured from Chinese company Sinovac.
Likewise, Duterte has said that he will only send gray ships to the West Philippine Sea once China drills oil within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.
Philippine patrols have been reporting the presence of Chinese vessels within the country's exclusive economic zone in the WPS, but presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has maintained that the Chinese will eventually leave.