Taipei awaits Manila envoy on deportation crisis

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Feb 18, 2011 - Page 3

Taiwan’s next move in the efforts to resolve a diplomatic dispute with the Philippines will depend on who Manila sends to Taipei to deal with the issue and what the envoy says, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman James Chang (章計平) said yesterday.

“The Philippines is expected to announce its envoy soon, who should arrive in Taiwan within a week,” Chang said. “Our response will be contingent on who the -envoy is and what message he or she brings.”

Taipei and Manila have been engaged in a diplomatic row over the Philippines’ deportation of 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China on Feb. 2 along with 10 Chinese suspects.

Taiwan responded by implementing some punitive measures, including tighter visa screening of Philippine nationals seeking to work in Taiwan.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said last week that he would send an emissary to explain his administration’s actions. The Philippine media has said Manuel Roxas, a close friend of the president who once served as the Philippines’ trade and industry minister, has been selected to head the mission.

Manila has said there is no need to apologize to Taiwan over the deportation.

In related news, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) declined to comment yesterday on a visit to Taiwan by MECO Chairman Armadeo Perez. Perez is reportedly coming to appeal on behalf of Filipino workers who allegedly have been having a hard time returning to their jobs in Taiwan because of the deportation controversy.

The foreign ministry said Taiwan’s stricter visa application measures do not apply to those who already have work permits, and would not prevent them from returning to the Philippines for vacations or emergency visits.