PH lawmaker justifies Marcos' greeting to Taiwan leader

House lawmaker justifies Marcos’ congratulatory message to Taiwan leader

/ 12:35 PM January 18, 2024

House lawmaker justifies Marcos' congratulatory message to Taiwan leader

FILE PHOTO: National flags are placed outside a room in Beijing, China, January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/Files

MANILA, Philippines — A House lawmaker defended President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s greeting to the newly-elected Taiwanese president which annoyed China.

Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. said Thursday that Marcos’ congratulatory message to the new Taiwan leader is only meant to strengthen international relations and should not be interpreted as something else.


The congressman also asserted that it is within Marcos’ prerogative to greet other global leaders, as the Chief Executive’s message to Taiwan president-elect Lai Ching-te “aligns with our country’s diplomatic principles and commitment to fostering positive international relations.”


“President Marcos, as the elected leader of our sovereign nation, holds the prerogative to extend congratulations and foster amicable relations with global leaders,” the Pampanga 3rd District representative said.

“The Philippines values its diplomatic relationship with China and remains committed to mutual respect and understanding. However, it’s imperative to clarify that fostering friendly ties with neighboring countries and acknowledging their leadership does not equate to ‘playing with fire’, as the foreign ministry put it,” Gonzales added.

Gonzales then reminded China that ties between the Philippines and Taiwan extend beyond formalities, as the semi-tropical island in East Asia has been a long-time host to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

He also urged China to address criticisms in a constructive way – and not in a manner where the competencies of the Philippines’ leaders are undermined.

“While we appreciate constructive dialogue, it’s crucial to approach international discourse with respect.  Suggestions that undermine the competence of our nation’s leader are neither productive nor reflective of the mutual respect that should anchor our bilateral relations,” Gonzales pointed out.

“The strength of our nation lies in our ability to engage with the world with dignity, respect, and a clear understanding of our national interests,” he added.


Marcos extended his greetings to Lai on Twitter, following the conclusion of Taiwan’s presidential elections last Saturday, January 13. Marcos said he is looking forward to a “close collaboration, strengthening mutual interests, fostering peace, and ensuring prosperity” for the people of the Philippines and Taiwan.

READ: Bongbong Marcos eyeing close collaboration with Taiwan president-elect 

But China took exception of Marcos’ action. It even summoned the Philippine Ambassador in Beijing to register its protest and warned the Philippines “not to play with fire.”

On Wednesday night, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian asked the Philippine government to handle issues involving Taiwan prudently, adding that it must respect China’s internal affairs.

In his speech during a year-end party for the media, Huang reminded the Philippine government that diplomatic ties between Manila and Beijing were built on the understanding of having a one-China policy – or the recognition that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the only China in existence.

“What I want to emphasize is that the Taiwan question is China’s internal affairs and lies at the core of China’s core interests with an extremely high sensitivity,” Huang said.

“So we hope that the Philippine side will stay committed to the one-China policy pursued by successive Philippine administrations since the establishments of diplomatic ties between China and the Philippines, and respect China’s internal affairs, and handle the Taiwan question prudently so as to maintain the healthy and stable development of China-Philippine relations,” he added.

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The Department of Foreign Affairs has already clarified that the Philippines remains committed to the one-China policy, noting that Marcos’ greeting was only a way of expressing gratitude for Taiwan’s continuous hosting of the country’s overseas Filipino workers.

TAGS: China, geopolitics, Philippines, Taiwan

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