PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping have arranged a bilateral meeting in Beijing on Monday, May 15, but the Philippine leader said he is not inclined to raise the South China Sea arbitration during the talk.

Duterte on Saturday told the Filipino community in Hong Kong that he would only extend his gratitude to the Chinese government for helping the Philippines, especially in its goal to spur the country's economic growth.

"I'm sure the issue that we will discuss would really be how to improve the economy of the world. To date, I have nothing to say except to fuse thanks to China for helping us," Duterte said in a speech delivered on Saturday.

"One thing is very certain actually: China, in all good faith, wants to help us," he added.

Duterte is expected to arrive in Beijing, China, Saturday night after his meeting with overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is home to nearly 200,000 Filipinos domestic workers.

This was the second time Duterte will embark on a visit to China. He will stay there until May 15 to attend the Belt and Road Forum.

The President will have a bilateral meeting with Xi and other officials from both China and the Philippines on Monday. It will be followed by a restricted meeting between the two leaders.

Duterte insisted that Beijing trip it is not the best time to invoke the international tribunal ruling that favors the Philippines and invalidates China's claim to the contested waters in the South China Sea.

He said raising China's loss to the petition filed by the Philippines before the Permanent Court of Arbitration would only yield unfavorable results.

"You're claiming South China Sea as yours. We're claiming it as ours also and as a matter of fact, we went to a court, international body to settle these things, and we won the arbitration. But I said, I will not bring it up at this point in time because it would not be proper," said Duterte.

"Let us put it aside in the meantime," he added.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled on July 12, 2016 that China has no legal basis to claim historic rights within the South China Sea.

Duterte had declined to mention the arbitral court's ruling in his previous meeting with Xi in October 2016, as he seeks to improve ties with China. He has also maintained that the Philippine government would push for a diplomatic approach to address the maritime dispute.

Duterte has also avoided any mention of the international arbitral court's ruling against China in his message during the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit, which was held in Manila last April.

He has stressed that the decision on the disputed waters should only be tackled between China and the Philippines. (SunStar Philippines)