MANILA, Philippines – Career diplomat Sonia Brady will soon fly to China after the Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed her posting Wednesday, May 30, in a development seen to ease tensions in the disputed Scarborough Shoal.
The Palace said Brady's knowledge of China, which spans almost 4 decades, will come in handy as the Philippines seeks to find a diplomatic solution to the Scarborough Shoal standoff that is now approaching its second month.
Brady served as the Philippines' ambassador to China from 2006 and 2010, and received her first foreign posting also in China from 1976 to 1978.
“This is someone who can hit the ground running, as the President said,” explained deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte. (Read: PNoy names envoy to China.)
China welcomes Brady
China itself has hailed her appointment.
“We welcome the Philippine government to send the ambassador to Beijing as soon as possible, and we believe it will help strengthen communications between both sides through diplomatic channels,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin in a press briefing.
Before naming Brady, President Benigno Aquino III had nominated an Aquino family friend, Domingo Lee, to serve as the Philippines' ambassador to China. The CA repeatedly deferred Lee's confirmation due to his lack of basic knowledge on diplomacy.
Eventually, Lee requested Aquino to withdraw his nomination as ambassador to China due to his “protracted nomination process” that the Philippines cannot afford amid its ongoing tension with China.
A Philippine ambassador to China is crucial in the standoff which, according to experts, is more diplomatic than military in nature.
Meanwhile, the Philippines and China have agreed to exercise restraint in the ongoing Scarborough Shoal standoff, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Tuesday, May 29.
"We agreed on three points: to restrain our actions, to restrain our statements so that it does not escalate, and then we continue to open our line of communication until we come up with a peaceful resolution to the case,” Gazmin said. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.