Oddly Enough

U.S. apologizes for flying Philippine flag upside down

A Philippines flag flutters in the foreground as the USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), the flagship of the United States Seventh Fleet, arrives at the North Harbor in Manila August 4, 2010. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States government apologized for displaying the Philippine flag upside down at an event in New York attended by President Barack Obama on Friday, calling it an “honest mistake.”

The red-white-and-blue Philippine flag adorned with yellow stars was hanging upside down, with red on top instead of blue, when Obama met his counterpart Philippine President Benigno Aquino during a gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In the Philippines, an inverted flag signals the nation is in a state of war.

“This was an honest mistake,” said Rebecca Thompson, U.S. embassy spokesperson in Manila. “The U.S. treasures its close relationship and close partnership with the Philippines.”

Thompson did not say who made the mistake or how it happened.

Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by Jerry Norton