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Taiwan’s alleged plan to deploy missiles in West Philippine Sea denied

/ 08:45 AM November 14, 2011

HONOLULU—President Aquino raised the issue of Taiwan’s alleged plan to install missiles in the West Philippine Sea with an official of the Kuomintang Party on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Conference here on Saturday.

In his talk with the Philippine media after his Apec-related and bilateral meetings, Mr. Aquino said the Taiwanese side denied knowledge of any such plan that he said has already been reported in some newspapers.

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“Wasn’t it in the newspapers that they will deploy misiles? Correct me if I’m wrong but they said that as far as they know, there is no such plan,” President Aquino told reporters.

“We told them that if you introduce more sophisticated weapons into a weapons-free zone, tensions will be raised and that’s not in their interest. I understand that they don’t have any interest to do so,” he added.

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President Aquino said he met with Lian Cheng. “He is I think at most the honorary chair of the Kuomintang party but he is not a government official,” Mr. Aquino said.

The Philippines’ one-China policy prevents its political leaders, including President Aquino, to meet with those of Taiwan.

President Aquino said the discussions with Taiwan were mostly economic.

He said the Taiwanese side committed to look into and correct the collection of placement fees amounting to $3,000 from overseas Filipino workers that earn just $600. He said the collection of placement fees happened despite a law in Taiwan that bans such activity.

“So they will pay for it between five to six months of working there. The placement fee that we didn’t collect would be paid there,” President Aquino said.

“Now, why did it reach six months? There are also fees on dormitory, board and lodging, etc. So, the contract runs for two years and 35 percent of that would go to placement fees that shouldn’t be collected,” he added.

“Their answer was they would look into the situation and would correct it,” President Aquino said.

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He said the Taiwanese asked that they be given visa-free privileges when they go to the Philippines.

Mr. Aquino said what the Philippines could do at this time is only to fast track the process of providing the visas.

“They send something like 134 or so thousand of tourists every year. And why did we deny the request? I told them the drug problem, for instance, wherein many of those we arrest have Chinese sounding names,” President Aquino said.

“It might become more difficult to screen those who come to our shores,” he added.

Originally posted at 07:56 am| Monday, Nov. 14, 2011

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TAGS: APEC, Aquino, Features, missiles, Taiwan, West Philippine Sea
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