The Straits Times
Published on Sep 19, 2012

Philippines says coup plotter in secret China talks


MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines said on Wednesday a politician who was once jailed for coup plotting had been in secret talks with China over a territorial row, as the tactic appeared to backfire amid bitter infighting.

Senator Antonio Trillanes had been "authorised" to hold back-channel talks with Chinese officials to settle a row over competing claims to Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, a spokesman for President Benigno Aquino said.

However the appointment caused a deep rift with Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who had been officially in charge of negotiations with China and was excluded from the unofficial talks.

Mr Trillanes claimed he had been responsible for easing tensions with China after the dispute erupted in April, and accused Mr del Rosario of "treason" because of his allegedly aggressive tactics.