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Erlinda Basilio, 68, who as an undersecretary in the foreign ministry, helped draft national diplomatic policy, will take over a post that was effectively vacant as a dispute over the Scarborough Shoal simmered.

The previous ambassador, Sonia Brady, suffered a stroke in August, four months after Chinese patrol vessels prevented the Philippine navy from arresting what the Philippine side described as Chinese poachers in Manila’s waters.

“This sends a signal of how important our relations with China are and how serious we are in trying to achieve an understanding with them,” Mr. Aquino said last week, after announcing Ms. Basilio’s appointment.

She previously served as ambassador to Sweden and representative to the Philippine mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

China claims most of the South China Sea, including waters close to the shores of its neighbors. These areas include major sea lanes and are believed to hold vast mineral and oil resources.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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