Philippine Ambassador to China Erlinda Basilio was called home by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario for “consultations” amid the slew of controversies involving the Philippines and China.
Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said Basilio will return to Beijing “in the next few days.”
“She was called for consultations . . . [regarding]overall PH-China relations,” he told reporters.
The envoy was seen with del Rosario at the Foreign Affairs department’s head office in Pasay City (Metro Manila) on Thursday. Sources said she has been in the country since Tuesday.
She was called back to the home office a few days after del Rosario arrived from Beijing for the China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign Ministers Special Meeting.
There, the Foreign Affairs secretary apparently learned firsthand that President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s planned trip to China on September 3 for the 10th China-Asean Expo (Caexpo) will not push through because Beijing was not prepared to receive the President.
China had said that Aquino was not invited to the event.
On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin revealed that China committed “fresh violations” in the contested West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The military spotted concrete blocks at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, which would mean that Beijing plans to build facilities there.
Del Rosario said the Philippines will file a diplomatic protest against China.
The DFA chief was at the House of Representatives on Thursday to present his department’s budget before the House Committee on Appropriations.
“We’re framing an appropriate diplomatic protest, hopefully in the next few days. It is a substantive piece of information that we can tag on to our arbitration case and have it work positively for us,” he told reporters.
With a report from Llanesca Panti