SEASONED diplomat and ASEAN expert Huang Xilian arrived in the country yesterday.
The new Chinese ambassador will take the place of Zhao Jianhua who ended his five-year tour of duty last October.
The Chinese embassy said Huang landed in Manila past midnight on Tuesday and was welcomed by officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy, and representatives of the Chinese community in Manila.
Prior to his appointment in Manila, Huang served as envoy to the ASEAN, Brunei, India, US, and Pakistan.
In a brief message, Huang said he feels “honored and grateful to have been designated to a country he feels at home with.”
“Truly delighted for the Philippines’ accomplishment. I have every reason to believe and expect that the country will achieve greater strength and prosperity in the coming years and decades,” Huang.
“Since I was a little child, my families have kept telling me that the Philippines which faces China across the sea is our relative with close kinship and cultural bond. Therefore the natural affinity with the Philippines has grown in my heart,” he added.
The envoy said he believes the best is yet to come for the China-Philippines relations.
“The growth of China-Philippines relations, embodying common wishes of our peoples, has been generating more and more tangible benefits for the people and brought about a closer China-Philippines community of shared future,” he said.
Huang also said he was “astonished” at the achievements seen in the country under President Duterte.
He said that under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Duterte, “China-Philippines relations gave gone through a trilogy of turn-around, consolidation and elevation in the past three years, ushering in a fresh Golden Age for the two countries.”
“Neighbors wish each other well, just as loved ones do to each other.
Since President Duterte took office, the Philippines has made impressive achievement at various areas… I have every reason to believe and expect that the country will achieve greater strength and prosperity in the coming years and decades,” he added.
Since Duterte came to power in 2016, he has forged greater ties with Beijing as part of his “independent foreign policy” which saw the country pivoting from its traditional allies like the United States to countries like China and Russia.
Duterte even temporarily set aside the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that invalidated China’s massive claims in the South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea, to court Beijing’s support for his infrastructure programs.