Malacañang and the foreign affairs department paid glowing tributes to relations between the Philippines and China as both countries marked the 45th year of diplomatic relations.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that under President Rodrigo Duterte, the friendship “has flowered into a new partnership for mutual profit and progress.”

“Whatever happens in the future one achievement is undeniable and will always be to the new China’s unique credit: that in a time when many old rich countries experienced the fall of their middle classes into poverty, China raised 800 million from poverty to middle class by any scientific definition of the category,” he said on Tuesday.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the friendship between the two nations was “enjoying a renaissance” under the Duterte administration.

“We hope that this renaissance will lead to better relations in resolving all the disputes that we have between the two countries, increased economic ties, increased prosperity for both [the] Philippines and China,” Roque said.

China’s Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, for his part, said: “Over the past 45 years, China and the Philippines have continually deepened mutual political trust.”

Relations between Manila and Beijing frayed in the previous government over the South China Sea dispute and the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China in 2013.

Manila won the case in 2016, but Duterte set aside the victory, in exchange for closer economic ties with Beijing.

On April 22, Locsin sent two diplomatic protests to the Chinese embassy, over China’s aggressive moves in the disputed waters: pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in Philippine waters and declaring parts of Philippine territory as part of Hainan province.

He said both were “violations of international law and Philippine sovereignty.” with Melo M. Acuña