China envoy bids farewell
President Duterte confers the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of datu on outgoing Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua during a farewell call at Malacañang last Monday.

China envoy bids farewell

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of datu on outgoing Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua and wished him luck on his next assignment.

The order of diplomatic merit was conferred during Zhao’s farewell call on Duterte last Monday in Malacañang.

The Order of Sikatuna is given to diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign states “who have rendered conspicuous service in fostering, developing and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines,” according to the Philippine government’s website.

It is also given to individuals “who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Republic of the Philippines.”?

During their meeting, Duterte thanked Zhao for his contributions to the efforts to strengthen the relationship between the Philippines and China.

“The Chief Executive expressed his gratitude to Ambassador Zhao for his vital role in a growing and more robust bilateral relationship between Philippines and China, adding he hopes Zhao’s successor would be as good, if not better than him,” a Palace statement released yesterday said.

Zhao was named China’s envoy to the Philippines in 2014. Some developments that tested the ties between Manila and Beijing happened while he was assigned in the Philippines, including the Recto Bank incident, which saw a Filipino boat sinking after it was hit by a Chinese fishing vessel.

The owner of the Chinese ship has apologized for the incident. The 53-year-old envoy holds a master’s degree in world economy from Nankai University and a master’s degree in international policy and practice from George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs.

RODRIGO DUTERTE ZHAO JINHUA
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