Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing will be leaving her post less than three years after she was appointed to Manila.
An ambassador normally has a three-year tour of duty.
A source, who requested anonymity because he is not in a position to speak about the issue, said the new envoy will be arriving in January.
“She [Ma] should be leaving before the Chinese New Year . . . Yes, before February,” the source added.
The new envoy will be cross-posted from the Chinese Embassy in one of the African countries, the source said, adding that the new ambassador is a man.
Ma, who was posted in Finland for years, presented her credentials to President Benigno Aquino 3rd in January 2012. She replaced Liu Jianchao, a former spokesman of the Chinese Communist Party, who was assigned to the Chinese foreign ministry’s main office after his stint in Manila.
It was not clear why Ma, who maintained a low-key presence in the media as the dispute between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) heightened, will be leaving before completing her tour ends in early 2015.
Under her watch, the Philippines formally renamed South China Sea as West Philippine Sea, a standoff between the two countries’ navies ensued in April to June last year and the Philippines sought international arbitration for the territorial dispute.
BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON