COMPLEX bilateral relations do not stop China and the Philippines from having a "positive and mutually-beneficial" ties, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday, April 10.

Duterte, in a speech at the opening rites of the Boao Forum in Asia, said the Philippines' bilateral arrangements with other nations do not thwart its improved relationship with China when it comes to bolstering the two countries' economies.

"Bilaterally, the Philippines is showing how complex relations are not a bar to a positive and mutually beneficial engagement," he said during the business forum in Hainan, China.

"As sovereign equals, the Philippines and China are partners in the building of much-needed infrastructure, which are the building blocks and bridges for greater understanding within our two peoples. We are working together on strengthening economic complementarities," the President added.

Duterte, in his previous speeches, had frequently praised China for becoming a "good friend of the Philippines."

In his latest remark, China once again earned Duterte's praises for helping the Philippines in its fight against illicit narcotics sale, terrorism, and violent extremism.

"With China, we stand together in the war on criminality and illegal drug trade. We are shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism," he said.

"Make no mistake: there can be no progress without stability in the Asia’s lands and waters."

Duterte is currently in China for the Boao Forum for Asia. He is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday afternoon to discuss several pressing issues, including the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. (SunStar Philippines)