MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said scheduling problems prevented the bilateral meeting between President Aquino and Chinese President Hu Jintao from taking place on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Russia.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda stressed it was not due to a “snub” by the Chinese leader, pointing out that it was China that sought the meeting.
“The real score was ang tight na ng schedule. Hindi na talaga makuhanan ng panahon. Kasi if you saw the schedule of the second day, the second day was Leaders’ Retreat na then tuloy-tuloy na ‘yan hanggang gabi and the third tuloy-tuloy pa rin po ‘yung meeting e…I think both DFA and their counterparts were trying to find a common schedule for them. But they were not able to do it,” Lacierda said.
“Hindi naman tayo ang humingi ‘nung meeting e. Sila ‘yung humingi ng meeting. Remember, just to be clear, when [Secretary Albert] Del Rosario visited [Ambassador] Sonia Brady, he had an opportunity to meet with his counterpart, the Chinese Foreign Minister. It was in that particular meeting when the Chinese Foreign Minister requested if President Hu Jintao can meet with President Aquino,” he added.
“My understanding was there was difficulty in finding a common schedule for both the President and President Hu Jintao.”
Lacierda said this does not stop the country from relating with China on different levels.
“We are continuing with our diplomatic relations… Certainly we have certain issues that we need to discuss but it doesn’t stop us from fostering relations with them. As we have always stated, we have several levels of relations with China. So that should not be a hindrance to us—to both China and the Philippines. We continue to relate with China on several levels. And, as we have stated, Scarborough is not the sole or end-all and be-all of our diplomatic relations with China,” Lacierda said.