The new Chinese ambassador to the Philippines will arrive in Manila before the celebration of Chinese New Year on January 31, a source told The Manila Times on Tuesday.
Ambassador Zhao Jinhua was named as successor to former Chinese envoy in Manila Ma Keqing, the source, who refused to be identified, said.
Zhao has just left his post as China’s ambassador to Liberia. He was regarded there as quite an “accomplished” diplomat for forging deeper ties between the two countries.
Born in December 1965 in Jilin Province, Zhao has a Master Degree in Economics and International Policy and Practice.
His stint with the Chinese foreign ministry started in 1990 as a desk officer before he was named attaché at the Chinese Embassy in Lebanon from 1991 to 1994.
Afterwards, he was transferred as attaché to the information department of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) before he spent 1994 to 1999 as attaché, third secretary and deputy division chief at the MFA’s Department of Asian Affairs.
In 1999 to 2001, Zhao spent his first few years in a foreign post as he was named second and first secretary at the Chinese Embassy in Thailand.
Then, he was posted as counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 2001 to 2003.
Zhao then went back as counselor for the MFA’s Department of Asian Affairs from 2003 to 2005 before finally being named as the deputy director-general of the same department from 2005 to 2006.
He had a brief stint as the vice mayor of Hefei City in Anhui Province in China from 2006 to 2007 before returning as deputy director-general again of the MFA’s Department of Asian Affairs from 2007 to 2009.
Before being posted as ambassador to Liberia in 2011, Zhao was the deputy director-general of the MFA’s policy planning department.
Zhao, who is married with one son, will enter the “challenging” task of boosting China-Philippines relations at a time when the two countries compete for rights over the resource-rich West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
He will also arrive in Manila a couple of weeks after China imposed a new fishing regulation in the waters under the Hainan Provincial Congress of Sansha City.
The new regulation, which alarmed other claimant-countries in the region, requires foreign vessels to seek Hainan officials’ permission before entering the disputed waters.
China invited the Philippines to meet it halfway in discussing the new regulation, but Manila rebuffed this and instead asked Beijing again to participate in the arbitration case it filed before the United Nations-backed International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (Itlos). BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON