‘Not appropriate at this time,’ Duterte’s visit to China province called off
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has postponed his visit to Fujian, China to inaugurate the school building built in honor of his mother
Duterte earlier announced his visit to the Chinese province to lead the launching of the school building, which would be used for foreign students.
“I think it’s not appropriate at this time. It was just postponed for a more appropriate period in the future,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montelagre said in a pre-departure briefing in Malacañang for Duterte’s fifth trip to China this August.
Montealegre said Duterte will have an official visit to China from August 28 to September 1. His trip was initially scheduled from August 28 to September 3.
Chief of Presidential Protocol Robert Borje explained why the schedule was changed.
“That was the initial plan,” Borje said, referring to the August 28 to September 3 trip.
“But again, plans have to be finalized and the decision for the non-inclusion of this particular stop went through the vetting process of all the agencies and that was the recommendation,” he added.
He said the Fujian visit was “taken out of the schedule because the decision was made that it’s more appropriate to be held at a later time and not at this time,” he said.
“It’s been postponed. We’re going to work on the plans. As to the dates, we will have to work on it. There are certain things that need to be done further,” he added.
The chief protocol only said there were considerations on why the visit was called off.
“Sometimes the window shortens for reasons that are maybe logistical in nature, sometimes it’s substantive, sometimes it’s also due to domestic issues,” he said.
“But for this particular visit, there was a plan and then the recommendation now is to move it at a later date because it’s more appropriate to be done at a later date and not at this particular time,” he added.
Montelagre said Duterte will have his 8th bilateral meeting with Xi.
“In Beijing, the President will hold bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping to discuss the accomplishments as well as the shared goals of the Philippines and China under our Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation,” Montealegre said.
Duterte, he said, “looks forward to exchanging views with President Xi on how to accelerate the pace of our functional cooperation in terms of concrete projects as well as on issues of mutual interest to both countries.”
The President earlier said he would raise the landmark decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) before Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month.
In July 2016, the UN-backed PCA ruled in favor of the Philippines and invalidated China’s nine-dash line that covers almost the entire South China Sea.
China, however, has ignored the ruling. /kga
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