BEIJING (AP) — The Philippines’ ambassador to China, Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana, has died even 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 remaining appointed ambassador in 2016.
He was amongst a tiny group of Filipinos who visited China throughout the rule of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and were subsequently barred from returning house. He remained in China from 1971 till Marcos’ toppling in 1986 and joined ABC in 1989, the calendar year Beijing was rocked by pro-democracy protests centered on Tiananmen Square that had been crushed by the army.
The Philippine Division of International Affairs declared Sta. Romana’s passing on Tuesday. No term was given on the induce of demise.
Philippine media studies said he died the day before in the city of Huangshan, where by he experienced been completing his 21-day quarantine following returning from the Philippines with Overseas Minister Teodoro Locsin Jr., who frequented China for talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
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Sta. Romana was appointed ambassador to China in 2016 “in recognition of his deep information of China’s heritage and folks,” the office claimed in a assertion.
“Under his distinguished tenure, Philippine-China relations flourished irrespective of discrepancies indeed they flowered all the additional in maturity and were deeply strengthened. We honor his essential legacy of selfless assistance to the Filipino in the most tough overseas write-up,” the department stated.
Philippine relations with China have been roiled by disputes in excess of rival promises to pieces of the South China Sea, with China’s significantly bigger navy, coastline guard and maritime militia accused of harassing Filipino fishermen and protection forces.
China has refused to recognize a 2016 Hague arbitration ruling that largely invalidated China’s South China Sea claims and proceeds to declare the strategic waterway and its means almost in its entirety.
Chinese Overseas Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin mentioned Sta. Romana was “well recognised for his profound knowledge of China.”
“He worked and lived in China for lots of years and was our outdated pal and superior pal. Right after assuming the put up of the Philippine ambassador to China in 2017, he worked actively and industriously, building vital contributions to advertising bilateral relations and friendship involving our two peoples,” Wang explained.
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