Taiwan to recall Manila representative over spat

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 07 2011 11:45 PM | Updated as of Feb 09 2011 07:56 PM

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taiwan on Monday said it was recalling its representative to Manila and tightening visa regulations for Philippine workers in a spat over Taiwanese who were deported to China.

Philippine authorities arrested 14 Taiwanese and 10 Chinese nationals in December over an alleged scam to swindle mainlanders out of $20 million.

All of those arrested were deported to China, despite protests from Taipei, which said they Taiwanese should have been sent back to the self-governed island to face justice.

Taiwan's foreign ministry said Monday the island's diplomatic representative in Manila would be recalled this week.

In a statement, it added: "The screening of applications for work here by various Filipino workers will be tightened" and the existing visa-free treatment for Filipinos travelling to Taiwan will also be called off.

There are about 72,000 Filipino workers in Taiwan, remitting hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, helping boost the Philippines' economy.

"We'd like to maintain our friendly ties with the Philippines, but what it did first has harmed such ties. Therefore we decided to adopt the measures so as to safeguard national dignity and to display our discontent," the ministry said.

It said the measures will be reviewed contingent upon the Philippines' "goodwill" in the future.

The Philippines, like most countries, formally recognises Beijing rather than Taipei, but maintains trade and tourism ties with Taiwan.