• Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit China with 250 businessmen.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit China with 250 businessmen. (Photo : Getty Images)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his intention to go to China. There will be businessmen who will go with him.

Duterte's mission to China is his first in Southeast Asia. He expressed his intention to discuss issues on the South China Sea and the territorial claims surrounding it.

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"China has repeatedly invited me. I have accepted the offer," Duterte said in a speech at the presidential palace.

The dates of the trip are not specified but the president plans to schedule the mission before his trip to Japan on Oct. 25 to 27.

There was an overwhelming response from the Philippine business sector who would want to seek dialogue with Chinese leaders. There are already 250 delegates who are confirmed to accompany the president.

Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado said, "I understand there are 100 more wanting to go."

Duterte has been criticized because of his attacks on the U.S., and called American President Barack Obama a "son of a whore."

Meanwhile, he praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for being a "great president" because he has not criticized Duterte's war on drugs.

"Eventually I might, in my term, break up with America. I would rather go to Russia or to China. Even if we do not agree with their ideology, they have respect for the people. Respect is important," Duterte said.

On the issue of the South China Sea territorial dispute, Duterte will be opening discussion on the matter during his visit. The president said that the Philippines is not ready to go to war against China.

Beijing welcomed the effort of the president. According to Chinese ambassador to Manila Zhao Jianhua, "The clouds are fading away. The sun is rising over the horizon and will shine beautifully on the new chapter of bilateral relations."