BEIJING (AP) — The Philippines’ ambassador to China, Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana, has died though in quarantine for COVID-19. He was 74.
Sta. Romana was a longtime resident of China and experienced been a correspondent for ABC News prior to becoming appointed ambassador in 2016.
He was among the a tiny group of Filipinos who frequented China throughout the rule of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and have been subsequently barred from returning household. He remained in China from 1971 right up until Marcos’ toppling in 1986 and joined ABC in 1989, the calendar year Beijing was rocked by pro-democracy protests centered on Tiananmen Square that were being crushed by the armed forces.
The Philippine Division of Overseas Affairs declared Sta. Romana’s passing on Tuesday. No word was provided on the induce of loss of life.
Philippine media stories mentioned he died the day just before in the metropolis of Huangshan, wherever he experienced been completing his 21-working day quarantine just after returning from the Philippines with Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin Jr., who visited China for talks with Chinese Overseas Minister Wang Yi.
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Sta. Romana was appointed ambassador to China in 2016 “in recognition of his deep know-how of China’s record and persons,” the office stated in a assertion.
“Under his distinguished tenure, Philippine-China relations flourished even with distinctions without a doubt they flowered all the additional in maturity and had been deeply strengthened. We honor his vital legacy of selfless assistance to the Filipino in the most difficult overseas post,” the office said.
Philippine relations with China have been roiled by disputes over rival claims to parts of the South China Sea, with China’s significantly larger sized navy, coastline guard and maritime militia accused of harassing Filipino fishermen and protection forces.
China has refused to acknowledge a 2016 Hague arbitration ruling that mostly invalidated China’s South China Sea statements and proceeds to assert the strategic waterway and its sources practically in its entirety.
Chinese International Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin mentioned Sta. Romana was “well recognised for his profound know-how of China.”
“He labored and lived in China for numerous decades and was our outdated friend and excellent buddy. After assuming the publish of the Philippine ambassador to China in 2017, he labored actively and industriously, building essential contributions to advertising and marketing bilateral relations and friendship in between our two peoples,” Wang reported.
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