Former President Fidel V. Ramos, who has been named special Philippine envoy to China, will fly to Beijing on Monday for initial talks with Chinese authorities on the thorny maritime dispute between Manila and Beijing.
This will be Ramos’ first trip to China since he was named special envoy by President Rodrigo Duterte last month.
The Philippines News Agency learned of the former President’s trip to China Sunday afternoon, and this was confirmed by his office.
Accompanying Ramos to China are former Interior and Local Government secretary Rafael Alunan, Chito Santa Romana and Sam Jones, grandson of the former President, who speaks fluently the Mandarin language.
No other details were disclosed about Ramos’ trip to China, except that he would be flying to Beijing on Monday as a special envoy representing the Philippine government to hold talks with Chinese authorities to find ways and means for a peaceful resolution to the sea row.
A United Nations arbitral tribunal in The Hague issued a ruling in favor of the Philippines regarding the sea dispute with China last July 12.
Despite the ruling, China continues to occupy some of the islands in the Spratlys as well as the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), with Chinese coast guard driving away Filipino fishermen.
Ramos, 88, served as Philippine President from 1992 to 1998 and has maintained good personal ties with China even after stepping down from office.
As a private citizen and senior statesman, Ramos was instrumental to the establishment of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), a nongovernment and nonprofit international organization, in 1998, together with other world leaders: former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and former Japan Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa.
Ramos was formerly the chairman of BFA.
BFA was inaugurated on Feb. 27, 2001 in Boao, Hainan Province, China, which serves as the permanent BFA Headquarters. Since 2002, BFA has been holding its annual conference at Boao.