Wed, Feb 23, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Ma piqued at lack of Manila apology

KIND OF SORRY?The Philippine envoy said he would inform his president of Ma’s strong demand for a formal apology for the deportation of 14 Taiwanese

By Ko Shu-ling and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporters

Wu on Sunday said an apology by Roxas was a necessary condition for the visit.

Roxas repeatedly said the Philippines “deeply regretted” the -incident during his talks with Yang and Ma, but came short of a full apology.

Democratic Progressive Party legislators shot back at Wu, accusing the government of agreeing to hold the meeting between Ma and Roxas despite Manila’s refusal to apologize.

DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said Wu appeared to be “out of the loop” regarding the diplomatic standoff between Taiwan and the Philippines.

“Ma should have never met Roxas. It’s degrading to our national dignity,” DPP Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) said. “If the Philippines really wanted to apologize, [the Philippine] presidential palace should have just released a statement.”

In response, Wu said Roxas had proposed concrete suggestions and that both sides had agreed to make further efforts to resolve the situation.

The possibility exists that the case could be settled in a way that conforms to our demands and expectations, Wu said.

Yang said he had suggested that Ma meet Roxas at 2am yesterday, as Roxas had put forward measures to prevent similar cases from happening again.

According to the “fact sheet,” the “Philippines side is willing to sit down immediately to begin discussions for the establishment of a mechanism for cooperation and mutual assistance in dealing with these kinds of crimes, particularly those involving nationals of the two sides” and to launch “talks to determine the feasibility of beginning negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement.”

Yang said Taiwan had used the opportunity of Ma’s meeting with Roxas to “send a strong message” to the Philippines that it must apologize to Taiwan.

Also included in the fact sheet that Roxas conveyed was the message that “President Aquino views this recent unfortunate incident with great concern and desires to repair the damage this has caused in the relations between the two countries.”

In accordance with the fact sheet, Roxas said he “took cognizance of serious allegations by the Taiwan side of possible lapses and mishandling by Philippine immigration authorities” and that he “will report this directly to Aquino, including Taiwan’s strong demand for an apology.”

Roxas also assured Yang that “there was never any intention on the Philippines side to put at risk the long-standing good relations between the two countries.”

In related developments, political commentators blamed Ma for the diplomatic incident.

Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), chief executive of Taiwan Brain Trust, said Ma’s expressions of displeasure with Manila were useless because his China policy had confused the international community to such an extent that its members believed Taiwan was part of China.

“China’s Taiwan policy is clear,” he said. “It wants to change the de facto ‘one China’ to de jure ‘one China.’”

Lai I-chung (賴怡忠), a researcher at Taiwan Thinktank, said Ma had no one to blame but himself, because he insisted that Taiwan and “the mainland” are both part of China.

Lin Cheng-yi (林正義), a researcher at the Institute of European and American Studies at Academia Sinica, urged the justice department of the Philippines to apologize and for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek judicial assistance with Manila and other Southeast Asian countries.

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