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The Latest: China praises Duterte ahead of his visit

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2016 file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during his address to a Filipino business sector in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. This week's visit to China by Duterte points toward a restoration of trust between the sides following recent tensions over their South China Sea territorial dispute, China's official news agency said Tuesday, Oct. 18. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)
October 18, 2016 - 3:08 AM

BEIJING - The Latest on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to China (all times local):

4 p.m.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says no "foreign force" can stand in the way of progress in the long-neglected relationship between China and the Philippines.

Speaking in Beijing on Tuesday, Wang praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for working to improve ties and for returning to "the track of dialogue and co-operation."

Wang said: "This reflects the wish of the Philippine people, and is in line with the Philippines' national interest. No foreign force can stand in the way of such process."

While Wang gave no details, he was likely referencing the United States as a foreign force that could upset the rapprochement between Manila and Beijing, given the 65-year-old mutual defence treaty between the U.S. and the Philippines.

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3:35 p.m.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has told China's official news agency that China is his country's only hope for development.

Duterte said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency that his visit to China beginning Tuesday points toward a restoration of trust between the sides following recent tensions over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

He said China is a potent source of capital for much-needed infrastructure development and that the Philippines should leverage its 2 million-strong ethnic Chinese minority as a bridge to encourage Chinese investment.

Duterte said in the interview that his own grandfather was Chinese, and that "It's only China (that) can help us."

He said that unlike the U.S. and other Western nations, China has offered its support for his 3-month-old government without criticism.

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3:20 p.m.

A new poll shows that most Filipinos strongly trust the United States but have opposite feelings toward China.

The independent poll was released Tuesday as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte starts a visit to Beijing to bolster ties.

The Social Weather Stations survey showed 76 per cent of adult Filipinos have "much trust" in the U.S., while 13 per cent are undecided. The rest have "little trust" for a "very good" net trust rating of plus 66.

China, on the other hand, is regarded with "little trust" by 55 per cent of Filipinos, while 19 per cent are undecided. Only 22 per cent have "much trust" on the Asian economic powerhouse, the poll results showed.

The poll outcome came despite Duterte's praises for China and his efforts to rebuild relations between Beijing and Manila that have been strained by long-seething territorial conflicts in the South China Sea.

The SWS Sept. 24-27 survey polled 1,200 adult Filipinos and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 per cent.

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3:10 p.m.

China's state news agency says this week's visit by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte points toward a restoration of trust between the sides following recent tensions over their South China Sea territorial dispute.

Xinhua News Agency says Duterte's arrival on Tuesday will be a step toward ending years of estrangement between the countries.

Duterte has said he wants to reduce contacts with treaty ally the U.S. in favour of closer ties with China.

Xinhua said in a commentary Tuesday that Duterte's visit shows the "bad blood between Beijing and Manila has finally begun to give place to good faith."

It said a Hague-based international arbitration panel's July ruling that denied China's claims in the South China Sea had no bearing on discussions between the sides.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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