Philippines apologizes to China over wrong Taiwan logo

By , on October 10, 2017


The Department of National Defence said Monday that Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued an official apology to China through Beijing's ambassador over the "technical lapse" in last week's ceremony. (ShutterStock)
The Department of National Defence said Monday that Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued an official apology to China through Beijing’s ambassador over the “technical lapse” in last week’s ceremony. (ShutterStock)

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine defence department has apologized to China for the “grievous but purely unintentional mistake” of using Taiwan’s defence ministry logo during a ceremony where the Chinese ambassador turned over thousands of assault rifles to the Filipino defence chief and top military commanders.

The Department of National Defence said Monday that Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued an official apology to China through Beijing’s ambassador over the “technical lapse” in last week’s ceremony, which was covered by the media at military headquarters.

The defence department did not say in its press statement which country owned the defence logo it displayed instead of the emblem of the China’s defence ministry.

A Philippine official told The Associated Press it was Taiwan’s, adding that Chinese officials called the attention of the Philippines about the faux pas. The wrong logo was printed on a huge banner that was hung prominently above Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, who was sitting on a red carpet and planked by Lorenzana and the Philippine military chief of staff.

It took a few days before officials discovered the error.

During the symbolic handover ceremony of 3,000 rifles and 3 million rounds of ammunition Thursday, “the Department of National Defence committed a grievous but purely unintentional mistake of using a different logo on a banner to represent the Ministry of Defence of the People’s Republic of China,” the Philippine defence department said.

The defence department stressed that it and the military adhere to the “One China policy,” wherein the Philippine government recognizes only the People’s Republic of China as the sole sovereign state.

“It is our sincere hope that this very unfortunate incident will not affect the co-operative and friendly relations between our two countries which has grown warmer over the past year,” the department said.

After he took office last year, President Rodrigo Duterte immediately took steps to revive once-frosty relations with China while taking an antagonistic stance toward security policies of Manila’s treaty ally, the United States.

Duterte has sidelined long-raging territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea in an effort to attract Chinese investment and infrastructure funds. He has promised, however, to take up with China at an unspecified time in the future an international arbitration ruling that invalidated Beijing’s claims to most of the disputed waters.