By: Elena Grace Flores
President Rodrigo Duterte was visited by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua in Malacañang recently just a week prior to the expected international court’s ruling on Manila’s dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea. Zhao’s alleged mission was to send Chinese President Xi Jinping’s congratulatory message for winning the presidential election but many are suspecting that it’s more deeper than that – thinking that the U.N. ruling from the Hague is just few days away.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay was also present at the meeting. Spokesperson Ernesto Abella did not have any information if the South China Sea issue was discussed.
On the other side of Duterte’s alliance, Ambassador Philip Goldberg is ending his overseas duty but with an assurance that the United States will protect the Philippines from any threat.He said; “Our alliance is firmly invested in protecting the prosperity, security and peace in the region and a partnership between two sovereign partners.”
He will be replaced by Sung Kim, Washington’s special representative for North Korea policy and a former envoy to South Korea. Kim, who will be the first Asian-American appointed to the Manila post, was nominated as the new US ambassador to the Philippines by President Barack Obama in May.