China's Xi wants to return to PH: Aquino

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2015 10:47 AM

KUALA LUMPUR - President Benigno Aquino III dispelled notions Chinese President Xi Jinping was aloof when he attended the just concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Leaders Meeting in Manila, saying the Chinese leader indicated he may want to come back.

Observers claimed Xi was aloof following a red carpet walk with the rest of the APEC leaders where he stood out because no one was conversing with him during the walk. Xi walked to the left of Aquino and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on the front row.

Aquino's explanation: There was no interpreter at that time.

"Ngayon, noong hinighlight (highlight) noong naglakad kami doon sa isang activity sa APEC na hindi raw kami nag-uusap. Ito hindi ko alam for a fact, every time kaming nagkaroon ng interaction parating may interpreter. Iyong kapag sinabi ko sa kanyang 'good morning' sagot niya sa akin Chinese,'' Aquino said.

''Noong naglalakad kami papunta doon sa function, wala akong katabi. Wala siyang interpreter at wala rin akong interpreter. Nasa gitna namin si President (Michelle) Bachelet. So medyo mahirap talagang mag-uusap kayo kung iba ang lengguwaheng gagamitin niyo 'di ba? Pero, sorry ha, nabasa ko lang somewhere na parang ano, paano ba ‘yon? 'Aloof' kami. Hindi aloof ano. Talagang kapag wala siyang translator, walang dialogue."

The President went on to recall an incident during the leaders' retreat where Xi displayed warmth when some technical difficulties involving the interpreter's mic were encountered.

He said he went on to explain to Xi what happened in that incident. He said Xi didn't really mind the technical difficulty.

"Ngayon, ‘nung lunch, humingi muna ako ng paumanhin doon sa retreat, tapos ‘nung lunch na late na lunch pa, nilapitan ko at ipinaliwanag ko ‘yung paliwanag sa akin. Tapos ang sagot sa akin ‘may mga technical ‘yan e, nangyayari naman talaga ‘yan maski saan e.’ Parang sa dulo hindi sisi, parang nag-thank you pa siya doon sa paliwanag,'' he said.

''Talagang tinanggap niya na wala tayong masamang intensyon. Noong umpisa parang marami sigurong iniisip. Parang minimal na minimal ‘yung reaction ‘nung kinakausap ‘nung ating sumalubong na kalihim."

Aquino said Xi left the country with the message that he wanted to come back.

"Noong pauwi napaka-animated raw. Nagpasalamat, nagsabi sana makabalik kaagad, pati...Ang sabi sa akin ‘nung Cabinet secretary na kasama bakit hindi daw niyo tingnan ‘yung litrato dahil ang laki-laki ng ngiti. So, wala naman kami talagang bilateral ano. Ang ini-schedule nila kasi sa akin noon 11 bilateral e. Nakita naman iyo ‘yung...Iyong pinakahuli namin natapos ng 9 ba yon?"

China and the Philippines are locked in a bitter dispute over the South China Sea.