Taiwan hoping for stronger Philippines ties: president


TAIPEI — President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that Taiwan hopes to strengthen relations with the Philippines despite a diplomatic row between them over Manila’s Feb. 2 deportation of 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China.

The president expressed hope that the Philippines will grant visa-free privileges for Taiwanese nationals.

“Ninety-seven countries and regions had granted Taiwanese nationals visa-free treatment as of January, but the Philippine was not among them, meaning that there is still room for improvement,” Ma said.

He also said he would like to see more students from the Philippines coming to study in Taiwan in light of the fact that Taiwan is promoting the internationalization of its tertiary education and is trying to attract students from Southeast Asia with college courses taught in English.

The president made the remarks while receiving representatives of Taiwanese expatriates in the Southeast Asian country at the Presidential Office.

Meanwhile earlier in the day, former Philippine President Fidel Ramos arrived in Taiwan for a five-day private visit.