World / Asia-Pacific

Philippines names new China ambassador

By Zhao Shengnan ( Updated: 2012-05-31 15:54

Amid the Philippines-China territorial row over Huangyan Island, the Philippine Commission on Appointments on Wednesday rushed through confirmation of the appointment of the nation's new envoy to Beijing.

Sonia Brady, 70, was named as the new Philippine Ambassador to China. She did the job from 2006 to 2010 and was also Philippine consul in China in the 1970s.

President Benigno Aquino III thanked the commission for its "swift" confirmation of Brady, whose appointment papers were submitted only last Monday and whose nomination has not yet been published.

"Realizing the importance of, and recognizing an experienced career diplomat to foster and improve our relations with China, we thank the Commission on Appointments for their swift confirmation of Sonia Brady," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement.

Brady told the commission that her mission to China was clear and that her experience in dealing with Chinese officials would help ease tensions between the two nations, according to the Philippine Star on Thursday.

"The reason that I'm being sent there is to try to seek a diplomatic solution to the problem. Whether we can do that early or later is something that I cannot say at the moment," Brady said.

"The only thing I can do is to try and convey our position to the Chinese government and see how we can de-escalate the situation and turn off the fire so that the two countries can talk and find a solution to the problem," she added.

According to Brady, the situation was generally under control. Recent discussions between Beijing and Manila have been focused on coming out with a proper code of conduct in the South China Sea "so that it will be more enforceable and all the parties involved will be guided".

The urgency of sending an official representative of the country to China was well understood by commission members.

"I will not object to that simply because we have a very critical national matter that has to be attended to. She's served there already for four years so I have no objection to Sonia Brady being confirmed," GAM News quoted Senator Sergio Osmena III as saying.

Brady breezed through the commission unlike Aquino's original nominee, businessman Domingo Lee, who underwent three hearings without getting a favorable reaction. Lee has been appointed one of two special Philippine envoys to Beijing.

China on Monday has likewise welcomed Brady's appointment to the post to take office as soon as possible, saying she can help strengthen the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Beside Brady, the commission also confirmed Philippine ambassadors to Jordan, Russia, Libya, Nigeria and Poland.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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