The Philippines has apologized to China after being caught confusing the logo for China’s defense ministry with that of Taiwan’s. Whoops!
Last week, the country’s Department of National Defense (DND) celebrated China’s donation of 3,000 rifles — made in the interest of “friendly and cooperative relations” — with a handover ceremony. At the ceremony, a large banner flew overhead with the logo of the DND right beside that of the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of China.
Which is so easy to confuse with that of the PRC.
Apparently, no one at the ceremony actually noticed the diplomatic faux pas, but it was later pointed out on social media, forcing the DND to apologize for a “grievous but purely unintentional mistake” and assure Beijing that it still abided by the “one China” policy.
“It is our sincere hope that this very unfortunate incident will not affect the cooperative and friendly relations between our two countries which has grown warmer over the past year,” the ministry said in a statement.
Indeed, since taking office last year, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has tried to cozy up with China and put past disputes over South China Sea ownership on the back burner. Ahead of a visit to Beijing last year, he told Chinese state media that “only China can help us.”
Yet, the Philippines does still have ties with Taiwan. The Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan serves as the country’s de facto embassy in Taipei. Last month, Taiwan began granting visa-free entry to Filipinos.
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