Remarks by H.E. Mr. Zhao Jianhua, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China at the Celebration of the 41st Anniversary of the Establishment of China-Philippines Diplomatic Relations and the 15th China-Philippines Friendship Day (June 9, CCP)
Honorable Enrique Manalo, Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines,
Mr. Salvador Panelo, spokesperson of the incoming President,
Mr. Stephen Techico, President of the Filipino-Chinese Association of the Philippines (FFCAP),
Mr. Qu Feng, Head of Delegation of Nanjing Performing Arts Group,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening. Today is a day of “Triple Happiness” as we gathered here to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the establishment of China-Philippines diplomatic relations, the 15th China-Philippines Friendship Day and China’s traditional Dragon Boat Festival.
On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, let me extend my warm welcome to all guests present here today. I would also like to thank FFCAP for their enthusiastic and efficient efforts in hosting tonight’s event. Let me extend warm welcome to the artists of Nanjing Performing Arts Group and Filipino artists. I’m sure that their performance will make this evening magnificent and unforgettable. My special gratitude goes to the DFA, which has always been a valuable supporter and thoughtful co-organizer of Friendship Day celebrations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The friendship between China and the Philippines goes back to ancient times.
I would like to take the opportunity to tell you the story of Zheng He, who was a Muslim, an explorer, a diplomat, and a fleet admiral during China’s early Ming dynasty. He led seven expeditionary voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, Western Asia, and East Africa from 1405 to 1433. His command ship stretched 120 meters in length (Columbus’s Santa Maria, for comparison, was 26 meters), which carried hundreds of sailors on four tiers of decks.
Zheng He’s fleets visited Mindanao, Brunei, Java, Thailand and Southeast Asia, India, the Horn of Africa, and Arabia. Zheng He presented gifts of gold, silver, porcelain, and silk to his hosts, and received such novelties as ostriches, zebras, camels, and ivory from the Swahili. From his fourth voyage, he brought or invited envoys from 30 states who traveled to China. During Zheng He’s stopovers in Mindanao, he established good relations with the Sultan of Sulu, who later led a delegation of 300 people to visit China in 1417, and was well received by the Ming Emperor Yongle. Unfortunately, the Sultan of Sulu fell sick and died on his way back to the Philippines and was buried in China’s Shandong Province. His tomb is still well protected by the Chinese government and the local people nowadays.
These are vivid illustrations of the traditional friendship between Chinese and the Filipino people.
(To be continued)