Duterte postpones Fujian leg of China trip
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte has postponed the Fujian leg of his upcoming visit to China.
This was announced at the Palace pre-departure briefing on the President's official visit to China, which Foreign Assistant Secretary Menardo Montealegre said would be from August 28 to September 1. The original schedule announced to media was until September 2.
After relaying the President's schedule in China, which did not include a visit to Fujian, a reporter asked Montealegre if Duterte was no longer visiting that province and why.
"It’s postponed.... It’s not appropriate at this time.... It was just postponed for a more appropriate time in the future," the official said during the briefing for Palace reporters on Friday, August 23.
On August 6, Duterte said he would go to Fujian province as part of his China trip to inaugurate a "building" in a Fujian university being built in honor of his mother, Soledad Roa Duterte. (READ: What connects Duterte to Fujian Normal University?)
Chief Presidential Protocol Robert Borje, who joined the briefing, said the decision to postpone the visit to Fujian "was made mutually."
"The decision of the non-inclusion [of Fujian] went through the vetting process of all agencies and this was the recommendation," Borje said.
He said that the decision was due to a "combination" of logistical, substantive, and domestic issues, but did not elaborate.
Duterte is going on an official visit to China – his 5th visit to the country as Philippine chief – upon the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Montealegre said that Duterte's first stop would be Beijing where he will have a bilateral meeting with Xi and where the two leaders will witness the signing of documents on bilateral cooperation.
Duterte will also address business forums while in Beijing.
He will head to Guangdong on August 31 where he will meet with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, and watch the FIBA World Cup 2019 game between Gilas and Italy. Wang would accompany him to the game.
"The President will personally cheer for Gilas," Montealegre said.
Duterte drew flak earlier when he said the Philippine team would surely lose to Italy because of their height difference. – Rappler.com