By Roy Mabasa
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has admitted that United States Secretary Michael Pompeo previously told him to “read the fine prints” when dealing with China.
Locsin made this admission on social media in response to a query posed by a netizen asking about the agenda on the forthcoming visit of Pompeo to the Philippines.
“Don’t know yet. He did tell me (the) first time we talked not to turn our noses up at Chinese deals; just to read the fine print as we should in every agreement,” the foreign secretary said in his tweet on Saturday night in response to a query posed by a netizen.
The US Department of States announced on Saturday that Pompeo will be traveling to Manila on February 28 to March 1 for a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and Locsin.
In an apparent swipe at the US, Locsin added in his tweet: “Last time we did not read the fine print we fell into the worst debt trap of all: that laid by NY banks/WB/IMF.”
Locsin was apparently referring to loans secured by previous administrations through the facilities of New York banks, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – all United States-based financial institutions.
Before flying to Manila, Pompeo will be joining US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Locsin and Pompeo first met in December last year in Washington, D.C. where they discussed regional issues such as counterterrorism, the South China Sea dispute, and North Korea.
“Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Locsin also explored opportunities to increase people-to-people ties between our two countries, our longstanding commitment to human rights, and our cooperation to strengthen the Philippines’ energy security,” US Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a statement.