Roxas special envoy to China meeting
DILG Secretary Mar Roxas will represent President Aquino at the 9th China-ASEAN Expo held from September 21 to 25 in Nanning, China

SPECIAL ENVOY. Mar Roxas will travel to a high-level meeting in China as presidential special envoy. Photo by Malacañang Photo Bureau

(UPDATED) MANILA, Philippines – Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas was nominated by President Benigno Aquino III as his special envoy to the 9th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) which will be held from September 21 to 25 in Nanning, China.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda confirmed on Thursday, September 19 that Roxas will repesent Aquino at the meeting and hopes he will be able to meet Chinese Vice President and leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping.

“The President has given his approval to Secretary Mar Roxas to relay to the Vice President what President Aquino wanted to relay to President Hu Jintao” two weeks ago in Russia, Lacierda said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

Asked if it would be a step forward, the presidential spokesman said it would certainly be a discussion on a higher level and should be viewed “in a positive light.”

Previously, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario had explained in a DFA statement that he recommended Roxas’ appointment to Aquino after China had asked the Philippines to send a “high-level delegation” to the meeting.

The recommendation was “based on the Philippines being the Country of Honor in the next year’s CAEXPO,” the statement added.

Lacierda will accompany Roxas to the meeting, which will be attended by Xi.

After Aquino and Chinese President Hu Jintao were unable to meet at the last APEC summit in Vladivostok (Russia), the DFA said it is “making arrangements for Secretary Roxas and the Philippine delegation to meet with high-level Chinese officials” but not confirm if he will in fact meet with Xi, slated to replace Hu in 2013.

Roxas told GMA News that he will travel to China as presidential special envoy but declined to reveal the content of the message he will deliver to the Chinese.

Roxas — whose appointment as DILG Secretary was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments on Wednesday — also denied he will be the new Foreign Affairs Secretary replacing Del Rosario, as Senator Antonio Trillanes suggested on the same day

Roxas previously headed the Transportation and Communications Department.

CAEXPO, co-sponsored by China and ASEAN, is an international event held annually since 2004 with the objective of promoting the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, a platform for cooperation in the fields of infrastructure investment, trade and tourism. –

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