Beijing: China welcomed Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's plan to visit the country as early as possible, officials said on Friday.
Duterte said recently that bilateral talks between the Philippines and China may start "within the year", Xinhua news agency reported.
The friendly ties between China and the Philippines are in accordance with the fundamental interests of the countries and the expectations of their people, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
China values its ties with the Philippines, Hua said, adding that the high-level visits are important to improve bilateral ties, enhance understanding and trust.
Responding to a report on Duterte and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's meeting on the sidelines of the upcoming East Asia Summit, Hua said China had an open attitude.
In July, an arbitral tribunal constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) ruled against China's maritime claims in the South China Sea.
China does not acknowledge the tribunal nor abide by its ruling, insisting that any resolution should be through bilateral negotiations with other claimants.