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June 29, 2017

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Taiwan recalls envoy to Philippines

Taiwan recalled its representative to the Philippines yesterday over the "inappropriate" deportation of Taiwanese fraud suspects to China after Manila issued a statement asking for the "warmth and kinship" between the two sides not to be affected by the incident.

Taiwan has made the decision to recall Donald Lee, its envoy in Manila, and to strictly screen the applications of Philippine nationals who wish to work in Taiwan, Foreign Minister Timothy C.T. Yang said in the evening.

The recall added a new element to the tense dispute between Taiwan and the Philippine government, which ignored Taiwan's requests and sent 14 Taiwanese and 10 Chinese suspects to China.

Yang, who had said Taiwan's reaction would depend on the Philippines' response, was apparently not happy with the information he received yesterday.

The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), the representative office in Taiwan in the absence of official bilateral ties, yesterday expressed its regret over the Philippine government's deportation of several Taiwanese fraud case suspects to China, while officials here called for the immediate return of the suspects.

Philippine authorities arrested the Taiwanese group, along with 10 Chinese nationals, in December for allegedly swindling US$20 million in an international scam targeting mainland Chinese, and last week deported them to the mainland.

In an official statement issued by MECO yesterday, it expressed regret over the incident and said it understood Taiwanese people's anger towards the way the Philippines handled the case.

Yet the agency defended the Philippine government's action.

"In view of the existence of arrest warrants in China, the (Philippine) Department of Justice deported all 24 suspects to face prosecution in China," the statement said.

"These actions were taken considering that all the victims are Chinese, all the accomplices are Chinese and the results can best be settled in China," the statement said, quoting Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

Taiwan-Philippines Ties Stressed

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