- China’s minister of commerce cancels trip to Philippines abruptly
- The Chinese government has yet to offer an explanation
- However, a DTI official disclosed China may have been irked by Yasay’s recent comment on the West PH Sea dispute
MANILA, Philippines – The Chinese minister of commerce reportedly cancelled his scheduled trip to the Philippines abruptly and has offered no explanation, so far, Reuters reports on Thursday, February 23.
China’s Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng was due to arrive on Thursday to sign 40 joint projects between the two governments which could potentially usher investment worth billions of dollars into the Philippines.
However, the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) received notice that they won’t be coming, sources has told Reuters.
Also, the Chinese government has not explained the reason behind the sudden change of heart.
“It was a last-minute decision,” Reuters’ sources said. “We were only informed about it and we’re not privy to any information about the cancellation.”
But the source, who is an official from the DTI, could only guess that the Chinese government may have been irked by Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay’s recent comment at the ASEAN on Beijing’s move to militarize the islands in the West Philippine Sea.
“On the South China Sea, a number of ministers expressed concern over recent developments and escalation of activity in the area which may further raise tensions and erode trust and confidence in the region,” Yasay was earlier quoted as saying.
But the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Yasay’s remarks were personal and does not necessarily represent the whole ASEAN.