Aquino mulls over going to China-Asean expo

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President Aquino: Should he go or not? INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Should he go to China this time?

President Aquino is sending an official delegation to attend the 10th China-Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Expo in Nanning, China, set for Sept. 3 to 6.

But Malacañang is unsure whether President Aquino is coming along.

“We’ll wait for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to confirm (his attendance). We have not received any word if he’s pushing through with the trip,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda at a briefing in the Palace.

“When it comes to the foreign trips of the President it will be the DFA that will be making the announcement,” Lacierda said.

Aquino sent Roxas, accompanied by Lacierda, as his special envoy to the China-Asean Expo (Caexpo) last year.

Roxas was then tasked with conveying to then Chinese President Hu Jintao through Xi Jinping, the vice president at the time, the Philippines’ desire to improve relations with China and help find a peaceful solution to the territorial dispute between the two countries.

PH is host

This year, the Philippines is the assigned “host” of the Caexpo held annually in China to promote the building of the China-Asean free trade area.

“But as to whether he’s going, let’s wait for the announcement from DFA,” said Lacierda at the briefing.

DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez later sent a text message, which read:

“The President has signified his intentions to attend Caexpo in Nanning in September. However, it is not confirmed yet that he will attend.”

Apparently explaining the initial reluctance of Aquino to take part in the expo, Lacierda said that the agenda was primarily economic, with a slim chance of talking with China on the West Philippine Sea dispute.

Trade, economic agenda

Lacierda said the Palace’s decision to participate in the expo “is one proof of the multifaceted relationship with China.”

“We’re focusing now on trade and the economic agenda. So we have moved (on). We have focused on other levels of exchanges with China. For instance, just to let you know, there will be visitors from the mainland (to pay a call) on me. That’s why we can confidently say that our relationship with China is not limited to the situation in the West Philippine Sea.”

He said the issue of the disputed territories in the South China Sea was already being handled by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea’s arbitral tribunal.

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  • ReneV

    as long as the invaders occupy our islands, please do not go Mr. President. just send a delegation…

  • Ben

    China is forcing Japan to acknowledge that there is a problem in their territorial row by pressuring Japan with its constant incursion to their territory. The Philippines has the same goal, to allow China to acknowledge that there is a problem with the two nation and China must ratify the COC and withdraw in our country`s outer territories. The President the highest leader in the Philippines, by not going to China and only allowing a cabinet level person to go will surely give that a clear idea that we have a problem to settle with them and for them to acknowledge…

  • Ronald Diaz

    Ignore China’s invitation just sent somebody to the CAEXPO.

  • opinyonlangpo

    Philippines is a member of Asean. At least, a purely trade delegation should attend. That is, exclusively for trade relations and nothing more to discuss.

  • Rodolfo Cervatos

    For me there is no need for the President to attend CAEXPO in China. He should first attend to the needs and welfare of his people who suffered in the recent calamity.

  • dragonian

    WELL……despite our different point of views. once in a while i do 100% agree with the chimps here……………..pnoy…pls dont attend the expo. you will surely looked like a fool there. the expo is for the more developed and civilized neighbors in ASEAN. not this chimpy prehistoric country. this is not an industrialized country. this country only export maids. comfort women. nothing more…………the expo had nothing to do with maids and biitches. the more appropriate venue for chimps is your u.s. UNCLES and UNCLOS….

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