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The Philippines apologizes over visa-free criticism: MOFA

The China Post with CNA--The Philippines has offered an apology to Taiwan and removed a controversial news post on an official website that claimed the Southeast Asian country was angered over a Taiwanese envoy's effort to push for Manila to grant Taiwan visa-waiver privileges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

Antonio Basilio, representative of Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), has apologized to Taiwan over the “inappropriate action,” said James Chou (周穎華), deputy director-general of the MOFA's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, during a regular briefing.

The news post was merely an “opinion from the media” and “does not represent the Philippines government nor the MECO,” he added.

Chou made the comments in response to a news report that was recently posted on the official site of MECO, the Philippines' de facto embassy in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties, in which unidentified sources were quoted as saying that the Philippines is not satisfied with Taiwan's policy to push for visa-waiver status.

The report, written by Rina Jimenez-David of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, criticized Taiwan's representative to Philippines, Raymond Wang (王樂生), of pressuring the Philippines government to form a visa-waiver agreement with Taiwan.

Pushing for visa-waiver status “is certainly part of his duties as Taiwan's representative, but what certain quarters are decrying is that Wang is going about it in ways that can only be described as boorish and overbearing,” it said.

“Wang, who's had little previous experience in the foreign ministry, appears to lack the necessary diplomatic experience and cultural sensitivity,” the report quoted unidentified sources as saying of Wang.

It also said that the Philippines has rejected Taiwan's proposal to reach a visa-waiver agreement because granting Taiwan such privileges would equal to granting the same right to Chinese travelers and open the door to “Taiwanese and Chinese drug and human smuggling syndicates.”

Commenting on the report, Chou said yesterday that Taiwan-Philippines ties remain stable and friendly despite the controversial post.

June 28, 2012    jimortega1@
Taiwan should stop giving visa free entry to those Filipinos with US visas. The Philippines don't give Taiwanese visa entry anyway.
June 29, 2012    corexdee@
MECO needs the money, for every visa applied they earn NT.1,200. That's how greedy their government is. Visa waiver means empty pocket. Taiwan should reciprocate also by stopping the visa waiver. Anyway almost all Filipinos would be tourist to Taiwan are denied entry, if not some will end up in Taiwan’s labor market.
July 14, 2012    Trainspot@
It is a huge put down a humiliation by the Philippines to go air its view publicly like this.

The Taiwanese Government should retaliate by imposing tariffs and quotas on Filipinos workers and maids and remove any visa privileges to the Filipinos.

Or else, other countries may mistakenly think t is acceptable to treat Taiwan this way.
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