President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday admitted that he was surprised by the recent remarks of Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian and that he will speak with him soon to get a clarification.
To recall, China recently advised the Philippines to oppose Taiwan’s independence instead of offering the United States’ access to its military facilities near the Taiwan Strait.
Huang said the Philippine government should do this if it cares for the 150,000 overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan.
"I think there must have been an element of... 'yung lost in translation. English is not his first language. I’m very interested to know what it is that he meant. I believe, I interpret it as him trying to say you should not... Philippines do not... provoke or intensify the tensions because it will impact badly on the Filipinos. That's how I take it," Marcos said.
"We were all a little surprised, but I just put it down to the difference of language," he added.
According to Marcos, he will talk to the Chinese envoy to clarify the incident.
"I will be talking to the ambassador, I'm sure he will be very anxious to give his interpretation of what he was trying to say," said Marcos.
Huang’s statement gained criticisms, with Senator Risa Hontiveros calling for the envoy’s recall.
However, the Chinese Embassy in Manila said Huang's remark about Filipinos in Taiwan was "misinterpreted".
Huang declines comment
The ambassador was the guest of honor at an International Chinese Language Day event at Jose Abad Santos High School in Manila, where he declined to comment on his earlier remark, according to Mav Gonzales' report on 24 Oras.
In a speech at the event, Huang stressed the relationship between the two countries.
"Philippines and China have been friends for centuries, if not millenniums, and we believe friendship is the mainstream of China-Philippines relations," he said. "We also believe that China and Philippines' friendship will last forever." —VAL/BM, GMA Integrated News