SENIOR Chinese diplomat, Huang Xilian, arrived on Tuesday to begin his post as China’s ambassador to the Philippines.
Huang was former envoy to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) based in Jakarta before he was assigned to serve as Beijing’s top diplomat in Manila.
He replaced Zhao Jinhua who started his stint in Manila in 2014 at the height of a maritime dispute between the Philippines and China over overlapping claims in the Spratly islands in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.
Huang said the “best is yet to come” for both countries as 2020 marked the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-Philippines diplomatic relations.
“I feel extremely honored to serve as the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines at such an important historical juncture, and will work wholeheartedly to promote China-Philippines friendship and cooperation, living up to the significant mission entrusted upon me,” he said.
In his remarks on his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Tuesday morning, Huang said, “I feel back at home the moment I set foot in the Philippines. I was born in Fujian province of China.”
“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 said.
“I have long been working on Asian affairs in my diplomatic career, and had the privilege to learn more about the Philippines and pay official visits to this country known as “a paradise on the earth,’” Huang said.
Huang added, “I have always been deeply impressed by its magnificent natural beauty, hospitable people, diverse culture and enormous development potential.” BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO