Premier insists on Philippine apology for deportation row

The China Post news staff

Premier Wu Den-yih reaffirmed yesterday the government’s stand that the Philippines make a apology over its the deportation of 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China. He said the apology can be made in any possible form as long as Manila shows its sincerity.

The premier made the remarks at the Legislative Yuan in his answer to questions raised by lawmaker Twu Shing-jer of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that has stepped up pressure on the government to impose a sweeping ban on entry of workers from the Philippines. Twu questioned if Manila refused to make the apology because it has the support from a “big brother” (indicating China). If this is the reason, he said, the government should also go after that “big brother”,

Wu said he does not agree to Manila’s bid of finding “reasons” for not making the apology owed to Taiwan.

But the government insisted on an apology from the Philippines regardless the form of expressing its regret, he said. Twu also suggested that the government hold an international press conference to play up the dispute and escalate the standoff. Wu said the dispute is still under negotiation, indicating no interest in holding the press conference as suggested for now. The government has shown no signs of weakening its stand as the DPP continues increasing the pressure for playing diplomatic hard ball over the event. DPP leaders have continued criticizing the weak stand taken by the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou.

Meanwhile, former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos said in an interview with the Central News Agency (CNA) that sacking Philippine officials responsible for the diplomatic row would be more meaningful than making an apology. Ramos said the dispute arose from the officials’ violating the Philippines’ own law and has nothing to do with sticking to the “one China” policy as the reason to send the Taiwanese suspects to China. He is scheduled to visit Taichung in central Taiwan in early March for the Ramos Golf Cup tournament. While in Taiwan, he is expected to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou.