MANILA Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada on Monday flew to Beijing, China to attend a military parade marking Japan’s defeat in World War II.
“Manila is a sister city of Beijing, so he was invited representing the city,” Estrada’s media affairs personnel Bambi Purisima told The Manila Times.
The Philippines and China are locked into a territorial dispute over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and the issue is now pending before an international court in The Hague.
Purisima said Estrada would return on Sept. 6. He did provide reporters of Estrada’s itinerary.
Estrada, a deposed President unseated in a civilian-led uprising in 2001, appeared friendly with the Chinese people, especially with his handling of regaining good relations with the Hong Kong government after the Luneta hostage crisis where eight foreigners, including five Hong Kong tourists, were killed five years ago.
The former action movie star is a believer that China, with its vast resources, can help Philippines attain progress.
Japan, during the war, occupied the Philippines for three years, from 1942 to 1945, until Manila’s liberation.
This time, however, Manila is in conflict with Beijing over the WPS. Meanwhile, China and Japan are also in conflict over some territories in the Pacific.
Aside from the Philippines, other countries involved in the conflicting claims over WPS are Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Just last week, Estrada led the emotional offering of prayers in remembrance of the 2011 Luneta hostage crisis.
Chinese monks joined the former president in remembering the good souls of six Hong Kong nationals, one Canadian, and one British who perished in the incident lodged by a dismissed police officer.