Hoping to “rekindle” ties between the Philippines and China, former President Fidel V. Ramos flew to Hong Kong at 2:35 p.m. yesterday to begin his task as special Philippine envoy to China.
Ramos said that he was not be going to Hong Kong to negotiate with Chinese officials on the maritime territorial dispute in the South China Sea but rather to engage in friendly relations and “play golf” with them.
“Please do not make any mistake. I am not going there to negotiate. That belongs to the officials,” Ramos said in a press conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 before his departure.
Ramos said that he had no authority to negotiate but expected that the formal phase of bilateral talks will take place “in the near future” between Philippine and Chinese officials.
The former President also stressed that President Rodrigo Duterte did not give him any formal instructions. “He is busy giving instructions to everybody so he had a short time for us but considers it very important,” Ramos said. “What he really said (to me) was to ‘please renew our friendship with your friends from China’.” (PNA)