PH visit of China's top diplomat rescheduled over Typhoon Ompong

MANILA, Phlippines – The Philippines' Department of  Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Saturday, September 15, that the official visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that was supposed to begin on Sunday, September 16, was postponed due to Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut).

Wang, who is also Chinese state councilor, was supposed to be in Manila from September 16 to 18 for discussions on the proposed joint exploration of the West Philippine Sea.

"Due to circumstances brought about by Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong) and in deference to Filipinos directly affected by the storm as well as the Philippine Government personnel designated to undertake rescue, recovery, and relief efforts, it was mutually agreed by the Philippines and China that the Official Visit to the Philippines of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, scheduled from 16 to 18 September, will be rescheduled at a later date," the DFA said.

"At this time, the DFA is focused on coordinating offers of international humanitarian assistance through the Philippine Humanitarian Assistance Registry and in extending assistance to OFWs stranded in ports around the country," it added.

The DFA announced Wang's Philippine trip on September 12, a return visit after Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano met him in China on August 22.

The DFA said then that Philippine and Chinese officials were "expected to continue discussions on oil and gas cooperation, with the view of coming up with a framework of cooperation that conforms to respective rules and regulations and international laws."

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio had said that the proposed joint development in the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone is prohibited under the 1987 Constitution.

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier proposed a "60-40" sharing deal with China on the proposed joint exploration.  – Aika Rey/