MANILA, Philippines – No deal.
President Benigno Aquino III refused several conditions set by China for him to attend the annual China-Asean Exposition, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) assistance secretary Raul Hernandez told reporters Monday.
“There were subsequent concerns and conditions to the President’s attendance and such conditions were absolutely inimical to our national interest,” Hernandez said.
“The President stood firm in the defense of the country’s national interest,” he said.
Hernandez refused to divulge the conditions, which were conveyed by at least three Chinese Foreign Ministry sources and confirmed by two Philippine Foreign Ministers during a meeting in Beijing last August 28, 2013.
“To avoid embarrassment on the Chinese side, we will not state these conditions but you may wish to address this specific question to Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing,” Hernandez said.
“We were advised that these conditions should not be made public and should not be discussed at Ministerial level,” he said.
The DFA maintained that Aquino was invited to the event.