Fri, Mar 04, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Former Philippine president arrives in Taipei for visit

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Former Philippine president Fidel Ramos arrived in Taiwan yesterday as tensions between the two countries over the deportation of Taiwanese fraud suspects to China remained high.

Upon his arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Ramos said he had not been sent by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to deal with the deportation case, adding that the visit was to enhance cultural, economic and personal exchanges between the two countries.

Angered by the deportation of 14 Taiwanese early last month despite protests by Taiwanese officials, Taipei retaliated with a four-month freeze on the hiring of Philippine workers and has mulled implementing an across-the-board freeze if Manila continued to refuse to apologize.

When approached by reporters during a visit to Hsinchu Science Park later in the day, Ramos refused to discuss how the controversy should be resolved, saying that Manila had already done more than enough to settle the matter.

Ramos said he disapproved of the punitive measures taken against Philippine workers, adding this would not contribute to prosperity in Asia.

However, in a press release issued by Ramos’ private foundation on Wednesday, the former president said the “one China policy” should not have been invoked by the Aquino administration as the basis for the deportation.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman James Chang (章計平) said no arrangements had been made for Ramos to meet President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) or other officials during his five-day visit.

Chang said Ramos’ visit was a private matter focusing on sports and business.

Ramos, who arrived with a delegation of 35 representatives, is scheduled to attend a golf tournament and meet Changhua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源).

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