It’s not too late for President Aquino to recall the appointment of Domingo Y. Lee as ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.Descendants of Chinese immigrants to the Philippines have had a powerful influence on the history of that island nation. Prominent Filipinos with Chinese ancestry include the Aquino family, Cardinal Sin, Jose Rizal, and Emilio Aguinaldo. Tordesilas observes:
Lee’s Taiwan connection is so well-entrenched, it will complicate further the Philippine’s delicate relations with one of the world’s superpowers.
A reliable source in the Chinese community said he knows that Lee, in his 70’s “is a card-carrying member of the Koumintang.” He said he is not sure if he has resigned but what he understood of the party affiliation is that it’s a “lifetime commitment.”
Lee was head of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, the de facto embassy of the Philippines in Taiwan during the administration of Cory Aquino.Tordesilas is understandably upset about what appears to be cronyism driving the appointment of Lee as Ambassador to China. Another journalist notes the all-important context of this appointment: the territorial claims of China on Philippines territory:
In the book “Cory, an intimate portrait”, a compilation of memories of the late president by people close to her, Lee has a five- paragraph piece which stated his closeness with the Aquino family.
Lee wrote: “Ninoy and I were childhood friends in our hometown of Concepcion, Tarlac. His father was my godfather. We grew up and bonded a lot. Ours was a special friendship – a treasure of a lifetime. Indeed, he was more than a friend to me- we grew up like brothers. Naturally, his chosen partner for life was a matter of a special interest to me.”
Lee was a member of the business delegation that accompanied Aquino in his first trip to the United States September last year. His business description was “senior adviser, Philippine Savings Bank.”
That leaves “trust” as the only factor that can be attributed to Lee’s appointment. But “trust” alone couldn’t do the complex job of Ambassador to China, especially at a time when the Philippines’ relationship with China is teetering amidst the hotly disputed Spratly archipelago. What is needed is a seasoned career diplomat who knows the “tricks of the trade” in dealing with China’s aggressive diplomatic assault as well as her menacing military presence in the Spratly archipelago including her frivolous but serious claim that the entire South China Sea is part of her continental shelf; thus, an integral part of her territory.The South China Sea claims of China are now a key factor for the nations bordering the area in their relations with China.
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