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Manila: China Asks Philippine President to Cancel Visit

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III delivers a speech on national television at the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines on Oct. 7, 2012 file photo.
The Philippines says President Benigno Aquino has been asked by China to cancel an upcoming visit, in what appears to be a snub between the two Asian countries that are involved in a territorial dispute.

Manila's Foreign Ministry said Thursday that President Aquino has decided not to attend the trade fair in the southern Chinese city of Nanning after Beijing requested that he visit "at a more conducive time."

The Philippines will instead send Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo to the annual trade expo, which helps promote economic ties between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China's Foreign Ministry later said that Beijing had never invited Aquino to the event. It gave no further details.

The Philippines and China are locked in a dispute over territory in the strategically located and resource-rich South China Sea, where small scale clashes between government and fishing vessels of both countries occasionally break out.

Beijing was angered last year after Manila decided to take the dispute to the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.