Xi Jinping sealed a raft of deals Tuesday during a trip to Manila as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's administration shrugs off USA warnings about accepting Chinese cash.
But relations have been warmer since Donald Trump became USA president and dropped American criticism of Duterte's anti-drug crackdown that has killed thousands.
Panelo then said that with the President's cautious, pragmatic, and diplomatic yet independent foreign policy, the Duterte administration anticipates more opportunities to forge better cooperation and friendship with China.
Xi said his country would import from the Philippines more goods, such as frozen fruits.
Xi's speech happened just before both leaders and their respective government's representatives sat down for an expanded bilateral meeting. "This vision charts a clear course for China-Philippines relations and sends a strong message to the world that our two countries are partners in seeking common development".
The two nations also signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on Beijing's vast trade and infrastructure strategy, the "Belt and Road Initiative", and agreed to boost ties.
In the same statement, Malacañang also praised the Chinese leader's efforts in upholding a conducive environment while dealing with the South China Sea issue.
At a joint briefing with Duterte Tuesday evening, Xi said China and the Philippines will manage contentious issues in South China Sea and work with other Southeast Asian nations to create a code of conduct in the waters.
Xi said China supports the Philippines' role as the country coordinator for the China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) dialogue relations and the China-Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippine East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) cooperation.
The visit, a milestone of historic significance in the Philippines-China relations, will open a new chapter in their cooperation, he said.
China is willing to work together with the Philippines to upgrade China-ASEAN relations and the East Asia cooperation, he said, adding that China and the Philippines, both emerging economies in Asia, should increase coordination and cooperation in regional and global affairs.
He will be the first Chinese leader to visit the Philippines in 13 years.
He said the Philippine side congratulates the Chinese side on the achievements it has made in its 40 years' reform and development, adding that he believes the Chinese people are sure to realize their Two Centenary Goals.
Prior to their talks, Duterte held a welcome ceremony in Xi's honor at the presidential palace featuring a 21-gun salute and traditional dances.
"China and the Philippines have lots of common interests in the South China Sea".
China won a windfall partner with the 2016 election of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has rattled the Philippines' century-old bond with the U.S. while courting trade and investment from the rising American rival.
At Asean, Duterte had called on the U.S.to stop military drills near disputed areas, saying China is already "in possession" of it. Pence last week said the USA supports a "free and open" Indo-Pacific and "will continue to sail and fly wherever worldwide law allows and our national interests demand".