Thursday, February 10, 2011

Taiwan top attaché recalled as Philippine Government continues to dither on diplomatic row

As the diplomatic row with Taiwan over the deportation of 14 Taiwanese and 10 Chinese nationals in December to Mainland China worsens, opening of any high-level communication channels between the Philippine and Taiwanese governments is yet to be seen. The deportees are all accused of being involved in a scam to swindle mainlanders out of millions of dollars. According to an Inquirer.net report, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), which represents the Philippines in Taiwan -- a country whose independence the Philippine Government does not recognise -- said that "[the] Taiwanese were deported to China because the victims were Chinese".

Donald C. T. Lee, who represents MECO's counterpart in the Philippines, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), had been recalled by the Taiwanese government to protest the action.
Lee said the Philippines’ One-China policy, which was used by Philippine authorities as basis for the deportation to China, is “purely a political policy” and not law, as it chastised the Philippine government for intervening in Taiwan Strait affairs when it deported 14 Taiwanese nationals to the mainland early this month.

[...] the Taiwanese should have been deported to the island “based on the principle of nationality in jurisdiction in international law, and through a mechanism established between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, Beijing and Taipei.”

“When Filipinos go to Taiwan, they need to apply for visas through our office, TECO, not through the PROC embassy in the Philippines; and the overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan earn New Taiwan dollar currency, not renminbi,” he said

How important is Taiwan to the Philippines? Very important.

There are more than 80,000 Filipinos who work in Taiwan who have families residing in the Philippines, as is the usual case, desperately dependent on their remittances. Taiwan is also a major source of capital inflow into the pathetically capital-impoverished Philippine Republic with the value of investments in 2009 topping more than USD100 million. The company Ancku Taichung Corp alone which accounted for more than half of that capital inflow had, as of the writing of the Taipei Times report, expressed an interest in investing another USD100 million in the Philippines for 2010 -- effectively single-handedly doubling total Taiwanese investment in the Philippines for that year. Also, an estimated 100,000 Taiwan nationals visited the Philippines in the first 10 months of 2010, and at the time that this statistic was issued it was reported that Taiwan had eased visa restrictions on Filipinos wanting to visit the country.

Thus, in the aftermath of a single snafu and as the Philippine Government continues to cower under the shadow of the all-important "One-China Policy", all of that much-needed source of income for the average Filipino schmoe is now at risk.

Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang said yesterday that Taiwan recognised the "goodwill" and "regret" in the statements issued by MECO but that the incident "had damaged relations with Taiwan because of its handling of the case".
The fact that the Philippines did not offer Taiwan direct communications channels to relevant government agencies, such as the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Justice, throughout the incident was “unacceptable,” Yang said.

“All we could do was to communicate through the MECO, and that was not enough,” he said.

Yang said Philippine authorities refused to grant Taiwanese officials access to a meeting on Tuesday last week to discuss the deportation issue, and failed to inform the Taiwanese side of the results of another closed-door meeting until the afternoon of Wednesday last week, when the Taiwanese suspects had already been deported.

Suffice to say, that does not seem like a really nice way of treating a country that expressed so much confidence on a renowned regional basketcase.

3 comments:

  1. What's really idiotic about that SNAFU and use of the "One China Policy" excuse is that EVEN WITHIN CHINA, if Hong Kongers are caught doing some sort of scam and they're due to be deported, they're to be sent not to Beijing, but to Hong Kong.

    Same thing with Macau. Macanese deportees are to be sent to Macau, not Beijing.

    That's for territories well within China, on the basis of being "Special Administrative Regions."

    Taiwan is in many ways seen like those two by China, so even if there is a political "One China Policy" in place, deportation is not to Beijing but to Taipei.

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  2. Filipinas is a country notorious for breaking contracts, it does not even enforce her cotract to her own citizens let alone follow diplomatic protocols. I suspect something big is afoul with regards to China.

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  3. Fear teh Chinese for they are going to eat you alive!

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