Palace: Special envoys gesture to reach out to China-A A +A
Thursday, May 17, 2012
MALACANANG said Thursday that the designation of two special envoys is a gesture of Philippine government to reach out to China amid the dispute over the Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said special envoys Domingo Lee and Cesar Zalamea are designated to do two different tasks - to attract Chinese tourists and to lure Chinese investors, respectively.
"We would like to explore all avenues of our relationships not only to focus on the contentious one," Lacierda said.
"We have several levels of relationships with them and these are levels that we are emphasizing. As you see, we have the cultural, we have business, and we have tourism," he added.
Lacierda defended the appointment of Lee, who was bypassed thrice by the Commission on Appointments for his nomination as Philippine ambassador to China, saying that the new envoy can disprove his critics.
"He is capable. He's not only involved in luring Chinese tourists, the country also to promote culture and arts. And I think these are matters which we believe Honorable Domingo Lee can effectively do," he said when asked why President Benigno Aquino III could not give up Lee.
Lacierda said it would take some time before the President could assign an ambassador to China since the appointee must still undergo confirmation before the Commission on Appointments.
He noted that special envoys, who were given a term of six months each, are needed in the absence of an ambassador.
Lacierda, meanwhile, assured that the President will not take six months to choose the next ambassador. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)