MANILA, Philippines – Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua denounced the illegal drug trade as he said China "firmly supports" the war on drugs waged by the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
"Illegal drugs are the enemy of all mankind," Zhao said on Tuesday, September 27, at a reception for the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Zhao added, "The Chinese side fully understands and firmly supports the Duterte administration's policy that prioritizes the fight against drug crimes, and stands ready to continue to cooperate with the Philippines by providing further assistance and jointly implementing a bilateral plan of action."
The Chinese ambassador made this statement after Duterte on Tuesday urged China "to control their people and increase their focus on criminals" in line with his war on drugs.
Duterte has blamed Chinese drug lords for the illegal drug trade in the Philippines.
Zhao, for his part, pointed out: "It is the shared responsibility of all countries to fight against drug-related crimes. The Chinese government is a staunch force in the international campaign against drug crimes."
China earlier vowed "effective cooperation" with the Philippines against drugs, even as the two countries remain in a dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
On September 20, the Department of Health announced that Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial went to China to sign a memorandum of understanding to build a 10,000-bed mega treatment and rehabilitation center in the Philippines. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.