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Hong Kong bars entry of PH ex-DFA chief Albert del Rosario

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Former Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario

Former Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has been barred from entering Hong Kong after being held and questioned by immigration officers at the Hong Kong International Airport for several hours.

Del Rosario said in a text message to reporters that he has been denied entry without explanation after a five-hour hold. This is also despite the Philippine diplomatic passport he was carrying.

The former DFA chief was held up by Hong Kong immigration officers when he arrived at the airport around 7:40 a.m. on Friday.

Del Rosario said he was travelling to the Chinese special administrative region to attend First Pacific’s board and shareholders meeting.

Philippine Consul in Hong Kong Paul Saret, head of the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section, said that around 1 p.m., the former diplomat was escorted by an immigration personnel to board a plane.

Saret and Philippine Consul General in Hong Kong Antonio Morales accompanied him prior to his departure.

Del Rosario is expected to travel back to the Philippines this afternoon.

Del Rosario, along with former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, filed a communication against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court in relation with Beijing’s activities in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

It will be recalled that Carpio-Morales was also held up by immigration officers when she and her family visited Hong Kong in May.

But unlike del Rosario, Morales was eventually allowed entry to Hong Kong, but she decided to just go back to the Philippines.

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Trump, Xi bring up trade at G20 digital economy meeting

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 28th, 2019

G20 leader seated in a special meeting on digital economy in Osaka, Japan | Courtesy: Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump said the security and resiliency of 5G networks is critical to the expansion of digital trade in a meeting on the digital economy at the G20 summit on Friday (June 28), while Chinese President Xi Jinping warned against protectionism.

Trump and Xi’s messages to the member states of the bloc come at a time when trade relations between the two world’s biggest economy are tense.

White House said Trump’s decision on whether to impose new tariffs on a $300 billion (236.77 billion pounds) list of nearly all remaining Chinese imports will depend on the outcome of the Saturday (June 29) meeting with Xi on the sidelines of the summit.

Beijing has called on the U.S. to immediately remove sanctions on Huawei, but did not link the demand directly to the upcoming meeting between the two leaders.

Huawei has denied its products pose a security threat.

Washington has pressed its allies to shun Huawei in their fifth generation, or 5G, networks on security grounds, but has also suggested it could be a factor in a trade deal with China. (REUTERS)

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Duterte recalls talk with China’s Xi: Oil exploration in WPS could mean ‘trouble’

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, June 28th, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte, Pag-asa Island and Chinese President Xi Jinping

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte revealed what Chinese President Xi Jinping warned him of during their first meeting in 2016 about oil explorations in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.

Duterte said he was warned by the Chinese president that if the Philippines would attempt to proceed with the oil explorations in the disputed territory, it could mean ‘trouble’.

“Sabi ko, (I told him) ‘I’m going there to dig oil.’ Sabi ni Xi Jinping, (Xi Jinping said) in a whisper: ‘Alam mo Mayor Duterte (You know Mayor Duterte), we just restored our friendship. It was not good for a number of years pero huwag na muna tayo pag-usapan (But let us not talk about it for now),‘ sabi niya (Xi). ‘Let’s talk about helping each other, trade, commerce, investments, China can help.’ Doon na nagstart, (That’s when it all started),” President Duterte said, recalling his conversation with President Xi.

Duterte said that when he again mentioned about South China Sea oil exploration to Xi because the area is “ours”, the Chinese president supposedly replied: “No, that could mean trouble.”

The President made such clarifications to counter critics who question his stance of not sending military back up to the area.

Kayong mga ugok, ang alam niyo kayo lang ang bright, ul*l, ‘pag lumabas ‘yung… (You fools, you think you’re the only smart ones. He (Xi) said, “that is trouble,” ano’ng ibig sabihin niyan (what else could it mean), from the mouth of President (Xi),” the President said.

The Chief Executive has been consistent in his position that the Philippines cannot afford to wage war against China.

His comments came after the incident in Recto Bank where 22 Filipino fishermen engaged in an alleged allision with Chinese crewmen earlier this month.

The fishermen called on the government to bar Chinese fishing in Recto Bank which is part of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

President Duterte said sorry to the fishermen but the incident, he said, was just a ‘little’ maritime incident and was not a reason for military exercise.

Also, the President insisted that he is not barring Chinese fishermen from fishing in the area “for friendship’s sake”.

“I don’t think that China would do that. Why? Because we’re friends. And they are of the same view that that should not result in any bloody confrontation,” the President told reporters on June 26.

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Palace: Del Rosario may have misused diplomatic passport

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019

Former Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario

Former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert del Rosario may have misused his diplomatic passport according to Malacañang.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the case of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is different from that of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario.

“Mr. Del Rosario may have misused a diplomatic passport in his travel to Hong Kong, a trip which is private in nature and is in no way related to government or foreign service,” the statement reads.

READ: Ex-DFA chief Del Rosario held at Hong Kong airport

Panelo adds that Del Rosario should have been alerted on the proper use of diplomatic passports and other travel documents.

Malacañang continues to provide assistance to Del Rosario through the country’s consular office in Hong Kong.

Del Rosario was held up by immigration officials in Hong Kong Friday morning (June 21) when he arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport. —AAC

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