Philippines' top diplomat apologises to China for Mao Zedong tweets

In a photo taken on Oct 1, a giant portrait of former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong passes by Tiananmen Square during the National Day parade in Beijing.
In a photo taken on Oct 1, a giant portrait of former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong passes by Tiananmen Square during the National Day parade in Beijing.PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) - The Philippines' top diplomat apologised on Sunday (Oct 13) for Twitter posts on Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People's Republic of China, including referring to the revolutionary leader as "burnt rice".

In a tweet two weeks ago, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin called the Chinese revolutionary Mao Che "Tutung," which means burnt rice in the Filipino language.

In a separate tweet on Oct 11 while reacting to a challenge by left-leaning groups for leaders to use public transport, Mr Locsin said the point of communism is "to take power and unleash a famine like Mao did".

Mr Locsin, known for his colorful words, apologised to China and its ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua for using Mao's name "in vain".

"My profound apologies to the People's Republic of China, the Communist Party responsible for its unprecedented achievements and Ambassador Zhao (Jianhua) for using the Great Helmsman's name in vain," he wrote. "All this revisionism makes me - as the first defender of "Red China' - forget my admiration."

The Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte has improved its ties with China and tapped Chinese funds for infrastructure projects amid a territorial dispute between the two nations in the South China Sea.