Manila mayor flies to ‘sister city’ for Beijing Olympics

By Allison Lopez
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines?Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim will grace the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics Friday on the invitation of Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong as his guest.

Chief of staff Ric de Guzman said Lim, who left at 7 a.m. Thursday on board a Philippine Airlines flight, accepted the invitation of his Chinese counterpart to attend the international sports event being held in Manila's sister city.

"It will be another great opportunity for us to renew acquaintances with the leader of your flourishing city and to promote mutual friendship among our people,? Lim said in his acceptance letter.

?We look forward to a pleasant journey to the world of sports inside Beijing, certainly a rare one we would mark significantly for posterity," he said.

Manila has been the sister city of Beijing since June 2002 through a friendship affiliation agreement signed by then mayor Lito Atienza.

Agreements with sister cities encourage "exchanges in educational, cultural, industrial and economic needs" and the development of cultural, scientific and trade relations.

De Guzman said the board and lodging of Lim's five-day visit will be shouldered by the Beijing official.

He, however, could not say if the opposition mayor would join the affairs of President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo, who also left Thursday morning for the Beijing Olympics.

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