‘Unusual request’ from Beijing led to cancellation of Aquino trip-A A +A
Monday, September 2, 2013
THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday admitted that an unusual precondition from the host country has resulted to the sudden cancellation of President Benigno Aquino III's trip to China.
DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said that there was an "unusual request" coming from China that prevented the attendance of Aquino to the annual China-Asean Exposition (Caexpo) that is taking place from Tuesday until Friday in Nanning, China.
"There were subsequent concerns and conditions to the President's attendance and such conditions were absolutely inimical to our national interest," said Hernandez.
He said the concerns and conditions were delivered by at least three Chinese Foreign Ministry sources and later on confirmed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario at their meeting in Beijing last August 28.
Hernandez, however, refused to give details on the said "conditions" and instead suggested that questions be addressed to Chinese Ambassador to Manila Ma Keqing "to avoid embarrassment on the Chinese side."
The DFA official related that Aquino did not adhere to the said conditions.
"The President stood firm in the defense of the country’s national interest," said Hernandez.
Last week, the DFA announced that the Aquino trip will not push through citing China's request for the President to visit China "at a more conducive time."
But according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Aquino was never really invited in the first place.
Hernandez belied this claim insisting that Aquino had been invited as shown by numerous documents they have.
He added that it is the "usual practice" for the leader of the country of honor to be present in the international trade fair.
"Although the President does not need to be specifically invited, the documents we have on the DFA website will show that he was, in fact, invited," said Hernandez.
To note, China and the Philippines is currently involved in legal dispute over differing claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
This after the Philippine side opted to bring the territorial dispute to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. (HDT/Sunnex)