“I thank China profusely, and they have really lightened up the economic life of our country,” said Duterte in a speech delivered during the 10th Philippine Councilors League National Congress held in Pasay City.
“You can really feel the sincerity of the Chinese,” he added.
Since taking office in June last year, Duterte has worked with China to mend bilateral ties that soured under the previous administration of President Benigno Aquino III over the South China Sea issue.
Last October, Duterte paid a four-day visit to China, which signaled a new chapter in China-Philippines relations.
The president said in the speech that his visit to Beijing has paved the way for closer bilateral trade and people-to-people ties.
Chinese official statistics showed that in less than six months since last October, China has imported more than 200,000 tons of tropical fruits from the Philippines and there have been about 1,000 new tourist groups from China to the Philippines.
More Philippine fruits like avocado and other agricultural products are expected to enter Chinese markets, said Duterte.
“So, let me publicly again thank President Xi Jinping and the Chinese people for loving us and giving us enough leeway to survive the rigors of economic life in this planet,” said Duterte.
Relations between China and the Philippines have returned to their proper course, benefiting the two peoples and other countries in the region, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi commented Wednesday at a press conference in Beijing.
The potential for further bilateral cooperation is rapidly growing, Wang added.