Philippines names ambassador to China amid sea row
MANILA (AFP) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino named a senior diplomat as ambassador to Beijing on Wednesday, saying it showed Manila was serious about resolving a tense standoff over territory in the South China Sea.
Erlinda Basilio, 68, who as a foreign department undersecretary helped draft national diplomatic policy, will take over a post that was effectively vacant as the two neighbours' quarrel over the Scarborough Shoal simmered.
Previous ambassador Sonia Brady suffered a stroke in August, four months after Chinese patrol vessels prevented the Philippine navy from arresting what the Philippine side described as Chinese poachers in Manila's waters.
"This sends a signal of how important our relations with China are and how serious we are in trying to achieve an understanding with them," Aquino said of Basilio's appointment.