China set 'inimical' conditions for PNoy's visit - DFA
MANILA - President Benigno Aquino III’s Sept. 3 visit to China would have been detrimental to the interest of the country, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.
Del Rosario insisted there was an invitation extended to Aquino for the opening of the trade fair in China on that will be attended by other world leaders, contrary to what China has stated.
“ASEAN countries had strongly urged the Philippines to send the country’s highest official to highlight the 10th anniversary of the ASEAN-China strategic partnership this year. 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,” he said.
Days prior to the event, however, at least three Chinese Foreign Ministry sources advised the DFA of certain concerns and conditions before Aquino could be allowed to visit.
“There were subsequent concerns and conditions to the President’s attendance and such conditions were absolutely inimical to our national interest,” del Rosario said.
He said questions on such conditions should as well be directed to his Chinese counterpart.
“To avoid embarrassment on the Chinese side, we will not state these conditions but you may wish to address this specific question to H.E. Ambassador Ma Keqing," Del Rosario said.
He said DFA was advised that the conditions should not be made public and should not be discussed at the ministerial level.
“Given the unusual request and the importance of the issue involving our President, it was necessary for the conditions to be confirmed by the two Foreign Ministers at their meeting in Beijing last Wednesday, 28 August 2013,” he said.
Del Rosario denied Aquino was not advised of the cancelled trip. “As in all matters of foreign policy importance, the President is regularly advised in a timely and confidential manner.”
He said Aquino “stood firm in the defense of the country’s national interest.”
The Philippines earlier brought China before an UN arbitral panel, questioning Beijing's claim over the West Philippine Sea.