The Philippine Embassy in China announced that its planned meeting with special envoy to Beijing and former President Fidel Ramos today has been canceled.
“The Philippine Embassy in Beijing regrets to inform the Filipino community that the planned gathering tomorrow, 28 September 2016 with former President and Special Envoy to China Fidel Ramos at the Embassy’s Sentro Rizal will not push through,” the embassy stated.
“The trip to China of former President and Special Envoy Ramos has been canceled,” it added.
Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose claimed that the department was not aware of the supposed meeting.
“The supposed trip of former President Fidel V. Ramos to China is a purely private matter,” Jose said.
“The DFA is not involved in it. We have no idea why it was canceled,” he said.
As of press time, China Embassy spokesman Lingxiao Li has made no comment.
The Philippines and China have long-standing territorial dispute over islands and waters of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The tension began in June 2011 when Chinese fishermen were caught illegally catching the Philippines’ live turtles and other marine animals.
On July 12, 2016, the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration favored the Philippine case against China, and invalidated Beijing’s nine-dash line.
The Duterte administration, despite the ruling, has chosen bilateral negotiations to resolve the territorial dispute, a decision that Bejining welcomed.
In the first week of August, Ramos, who was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as a special envoy to China, visited Beijing to meet with Chinese officials.
Ramos remained hopeful that both countries can settle the issue bilaterally.
Asean countries Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei also have territorial disputes with China.
The three countries, however, opted for bilateral negotiations and have not filed cases before the Arbitral Tribunal.