- Posted August 29, 2013 by
Scrap Beijing visit, China tells Phl
“The President has decided not to proceed to the China-ASEAN Expo taking into consideration China’s request for the President to visit China at a more conducive time,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement.
Hernandez said China’s request was conveyed to the Philippine government on Wednesday night, just several hours after Aquino announced that he will attend the expo.
Aquino, he said, will be represented by Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo to the event on Sept. 3-6 in Nanning where the Philippines is this year’s country of honor.
China’s first time snub is the latest manifestation of a long standing territorial feud between the two countries over the territories within the South China Sea.
Hernandez said Manila “will continue to abide by our principled position that bilateral relations can advance despite differences.”
China’s massive claim to the South China Sea, also known as the West Philippine Sea, and its persistent incursions in Philippine waters has prompted Manila to seek legal recourse through international arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.
China claims virtually all of the sea, up to the coasts of its neighbors like the Philippines. The Philippines has said that China's claim infringes on its own maritime territory.
China has rejected the Philippines' call for UN arbitration, insisting on bilateral negotiations with its smaller neighbor.
Tensions between China and the Philippines have escalated in recent years amid a series of Chinese political and military actions to assert their claims to the waters.
South China Sea, a strategic waterway believed to be sitting atop huge gas and oil reserves, is also being claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.