Duterte hails, thanks Zhao for boosting PH – China ties in farewell call
MANILA, Philippines – Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua made his farewell call on President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang on Monday.
Zhao is set to leave Manila next month for another posting.
In a press statement, Malacañang said Duterte thanked Zhao for his “contributions to stronger ties between the Philippines and China.”
The Palace said the President also thanked the ambassador “for his vital role in a growing and more robust bilateral relationship between the Philippines and China”, and is hopeful that Zhao’s successor would be as good, if not better than him.”
During their meeting, Duterte conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the Rank of Datu to Zhao.
The Official Gazette said the Order of Sikatuna is “conferred upon individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Republic of the Philippines.”
The 53-year old ambassador started his Manila duty in 2014 at the height of a maritime dispute between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea.
His five-year stint as Chinese ambassador to the Philippines came to a close as Manila and Beijing forged warmer ties under the Duterte administration. /gsg, je
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