China's newly appointed ambassador to the Philippines on Tuesday vowed to advance healthy bilateral relations between the two countries.
Huang Xilian made the commitment on his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as new China’s envoy to Manila following the conclusion of the five-year stint of Zhao Jinhua, who is considered responsible for the warming up of the bilateral relations between Beijing and Manila.
“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,” Huang said in his arrival speech.
“I look forward to working together with my colleagues and friends to continuously advance China-Philippines relationship of comprehensive strategic cooperation.”
At the NAIA to welcome Huang were protocol officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, officials from the Chinese Embassy and representatives from the Chinese communities in the Philippines.
Huang expressed optimism that the bilateral relations between two countries would be further enhanced as they marked the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year.
“The best is yet to come. 2020 is the conclusive year for China to complete building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieve the first centenary goal, and also marks the 45th anniversary of establishment of China-Philippines diplomatic relations. Let’s join with each other to embrace the present moment and open up the future,” Huang said.
He said the Philippines remained an important partner of China in jointly building its Belt and Road Initiative.
“Under the leadership of H.E. President Xi Jinping and H.E. President Duterte, China-Philippines relations have gone through a trilogy of turnaround, consolidation, and elevation in the past three years, ushering in a fresh Golden Age for the two countries,” Huang said.
“Now the Philippines is China’s important partner in jointly building the Belt and Road, and China stands as the Philippines’ top trading partner, the largest source of import, the third-largest export market and the second largest tourist origin.
“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.”
Huang also acknowledged the Philippines’ impressive economic growth.
“Since President Duterte took office, the Philippines has made impressive achievement at various areas. Standing among the region’s fastest-growing economies, the Philippines sustains its strong growth momentum with substantial headway made in the domestic peace and reconciliation process,” Huang said.
“Filipinos are now more satisfied with their better-off lives. 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.”
According to Huang, he has a “natural affinity” with 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,” Huang said.
He said he had long been working on Asian affairs in his 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’.”