Taiwan could punish Philippines over ‘One China’ ruling
TAIPEI—The diplomatic row between Taiwan and the Philippines could resurface after Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said the country could again impose “punitive measures” in response to a recent Manila court ruling that claimed the country’s decision to deport 14 Taiwanese suspects to China as “proper” and based on its “One China policy.”
“The Philippine government should understand that the deportation case is a legal issue instead of a political one,” said Minister Timothy Yang said Wednesday last week, adding that the government cannot accept the ruling made by the Philippine court.
Yang noted that it took tremendous efforts made by both sides to amend relations following the deportation row in February.
But Manila’s court ruling on Monday that intentionally introduced political interference into a legal trial could ruin the warming bilateral tie, he said.
Yang noted that Taiwan’s representative in the Philippines had already lodged a protest over the ruling that regards Taiwan as part of China to Philippine government.
He himself also expressed protest to Antonio Basilio, the de facto Philippine ambassador in Taiwan, during a diplomatic occasion on Monday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Shen Ssu-tsun summoned Basilio to once again lodge the strongest protest against the downgrading of Taiwan’s status, Yang added.
When asked to comment if the government would reintroduce punitive measures against the Southeast Asian country if it fails to offer satisfactory explanation over the matter, Yang said his ministry will continue to monitor Manila’s response before taking further actions.
“We will not rule out the possibility to do so,” he said.
Yang’s comment came after the Court of Appeals in the Philippines declared that the February deportation of 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China was legal, citing that it was just proper for the Philippine government to deport them to Beijing because of its existing One China policy.
The ruling came after China recently agreed to return the 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects to Taiwan for trial.
The suspects’ original extradition to the mainland caused an outcry in Taiwan.
To express protest, Taiwan’s government had previously imposed retaliatory measures against the Philippines including visa application restrictions on Filipino workers.
These restrictions were lifted in March after Manila repeatedly demonstrated its regret over the incident through various concrete measures such as demoting its immigration bureau chief and suspending the head of the bureau’s intelligence division.
In response to the Manila court’s latest ruling that belittled Taiwan, opposition lawmakers feared that the ruling could cause a domino effect in the international community, leading other countries to view Taiwan as part of China.
Ruling Kuomintang lawmakers, however, said the party will continue to ask the foreign ministry to protest over the matter, while urging the opposition party not to make use of the incident to criticize the ruling administration.