Palace expects stronger PHL-China relations with the confirmation of Filipino ambassador to Beijing

July 20, 2012 9:36 pm 

MANILA, July 20 — Malacanang said that with the confirmation of Sonia Brady as ambassador of the Philippines to the People's Republic of China, both countries would be able to patch up their differences, particularly on contentious issues.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that with the formal designation of Ambassador Brady to Beijing, the diplomatic discussions between the Philippines and China will now be led by the new Philippine envoy.

“The Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs had been in touch with the Chinese ambassador prior to the appointment of Ambassador Sonia Brady as ambassador to China. Very recently, Ambassador Sonia Brady was confirmed. She is now our point man in Beijing. So the discussions right now have shifted from Secretary Del Rosario to Ambassador Sonia Brady in Beijing,” he said.

Two weeks ago, Ambassador Brady was in Manila to receive instructions from the President and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Lacierda added.

“So we remain very, very hopeful that upon the assumption of the office of Ambassador Sonia Brady, who is an experienced hand in Philippines-China relations, we will have a thorough and diplomatic discussion of the issues between the two countries.”

While both countries remain lock in a standoff over the Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, Lacierda said that despite the tensions, the two countries remain engaged in discussions in several levels of exchanges.

Cooperation between the Philippines and China continues, he said, citing the meeting this week between President Benigno S. Aquino III and Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing in La Mesa Dam, Quezon City.

The President thanked China for extending a concessional loan to the Philippines for a dam and water supply project.

“So as you could see, we have different levels of exchanges. We are not limited in our relations with China strictly on a contentious issue. We can still work together in various levels,” Lacierda said.

China is claiming the West Philippine Sea in its entirety while the Philippines is pursuing ownership of some of its islets. Other ASEAN member countries that are also claiming parts of the disputed territory include Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Taiwan also has been contesting ownership of the potentially oil- and gas-rich territories.

New tensions have risen recently after the Philippines and Vietnam accused China of aggressive behavior in pursuing its claims. (PNA)

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