AS HE joined the Chinese-Filipino community in the country in celebrating the Chinese New Year, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed hope for "greater peace and understanding" between the Philippines and China.

"May this New Year bring hope, inspiration and more achievements for the Chinese-Filipino community and the entire nation," the Chief Executive said in his message for Chinese New year released on Monday, February 4.

"Together, let us cultivate the values and ideals that fuel our strong resolve to usher in a period of greater peace and understanding as we rise higher above the challenges ahead," he added.

The Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 5, Tuesday. February 5 has been declared a special non-working holiday all over the country.

On the eve of the Chinese New Year, the President was elated that the Philippines's ties with China brought "greater prosperity and economic growth" for the two nations.

"I join the Chinese-Filipino Community in celebrating the Lunar New Year," he said.

"The friendship and cooperation forged between the Philippines and China have not only led to greater prosperity and economic growth for both our nations, but also gave rise to a unique culture that is nurtured by harmony amidst diversity," he added.

The diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China was established on June 9, 1975.

Despite the South China Sea disputes between the two countries, Duterte has opted to be friendly with China, which he considers as a friend and good ally of the Philippines.

Under Duterte's watch, Manila and Beijing have enhanced cooperation in the fields of security, trade, investment, agriculture, tourism, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. (SunStar Philippines)