Chinese envoy not referring to Philippines in deportation ‘threat’— Panelo
MANILA, Philippines—Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Friday said Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua was not referring to the Philippine government when they discussed the deportation of foreign nationals illegally working in the country.
Panelo made the clarification after the Chinese embassy, in a statement Thursday, denied the Palace official’s claim that Beijing had threatened to retaliate if Philippine authorities would round up and deport Chinese citizens illegally working in the country.
“It was not in reference to the Philippine government. We were discussing academically what a government will do as a natural consequence of what another government is doing,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“We we’re saying if a government’s nationals are expelled not in accordance with law, meaning to say recklessly, then the natural reaction of another government (of) those subject nationals will necessarily retaliate and apply a tit-for-tat policy,” he added, noting that his discussion with Zhao “is more on academics rather than actuality.”
Panelo’s earlier remark was criticized by labor groups, calling out the Duterte administration for “kowtowing” to China after its ambassador supposedly “bullied” the government into not taking action against undocumented Chinese workers.
The Chinese embassy, in denying Panelo’s claim, said “China adheres to the principle of noninterference in other countries’ internal affairs.”
It added that it did not say that Beijing would take similar action should the Philippine government deport the Chinese workers.
“Chinese law enforcement agencies will continue to properly handle relevant issues concerning foreign nationals working illegally in China in accordance with laws and regulations,” it said. /muf
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.