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U.S. apologizes for upside-down display of Philippine flag

An inverted flag, as displayed behind President Aquino when he met with President Obama and other ASEAN leaders, implies a state of war. But it was just 'an honest mistake,' said U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Thompson.

September 26, 2010|By Michael Muskal

Reporting from Los Angeles — Even in the world of diplomacy, there are times when language has to be clear and unmistakable – like after a flag is mistakenly displayed in a way to imply there is a state of war.

The Philippine flag was displayed upside down behind President Benigno Aquino III when he met with President Obama and other leaders of the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations on Friday.

“This was an honest mistake,” Rebecca Thompson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy, said in a statement posted on the Official Gazette, edited by the Philippine president’s office.

“The U.S. treasures its close relationship and close partnership with the Philippines, which were demonstrated this last week during President Aquino’s trip to the United States,” she stated.

Obama met with ASEAN leaders on Friday in New York as part of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. The first U.S.-ASEAN summit was in Singapore last year.

According to the White House, Obama and the leaders discussed economic issues, global warming and counter-terrorism, among other concerns.

michael.muskal@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATimesmuskal

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