Thursday, 26 August 2010

Arroyo writes letters of condolences to Chinese leaders

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, Norman Bordadora, Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines – A snub is definitely not what Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang will get from the predecessor of President Benigno Aquino III, who purportedly did not take his call at the height of the Manila hostage crisis, which killed several Hong Kong tourists.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now Pampanga congresswoman, personally wrote Tsang a letter expressing her condolences to the families of the victims and expressing hope that goodwill between the two countries would remain despite the tragedy.

A separate letter, also dated August 26, was sent to Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao ....

"With great sadness, I wish to express my deepest sympathy to you and to the people of the People's Republic of China, especially to the families of your eight Hong Kong compatriots who were slain during the hostage-taking incident in Manila,'' Arroyo said in her letter to Wen.

"In strongest terms, I condemn the brutal slaying which has stirred outrage and has caused much pain to the Chinese nation,'' she added.

In both letters, Arroyo vowed to “closely follow” the outcome of the investigation.

“Whoever may be held accountable for the violent turn in the negotiations should be penalized accordingly. This is the only way by which we could truly honor the memory of the victims and give justice to the families in their hour of bereavement,” she said in her letter to Tsang.

“It is my earnest hope that despite this deplorable incident, the goodwill that exists between the people of Hong Kong and the Filipino people will remain undiminished,” Arroyo added.

Elena Bautista-Horn said the letters were sent on Wednesday.

Reports said that Tsang called up Aquino on Monday night, but could not reach him.

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