MANILA - The Taiwan government on Wednesday expressed "strong dissatisfaction" after Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the island-nation is part of China.
Roque earlier said that Manila will leave to Taipei to decide if an overseas Filipino worker in Taiwan needs to be deported after allegedly making "nasty, malevolent" posts against President Rodrigo Duterte on social media.
Taipei rejected the deportation request, which was made by the Philippine labor officials, saying freedom of speech is enjoyed by "both citizens and migrant workers" in Taiwan.
"We leave that wholly to the decision of Taiwan and China. Taiwan is part of China," Roque told ANC.
In response, Taiwan foreign affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou said Philippine authorities should “stop misrepresenting Taiwan as a part of China," adding they have instructed the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines to protest the matter with Manila.
“My country expresses strong dissatisfaction and high regret over Philippine government officials wrongly accusing Taiwan as part of China,” Ou said in a statement.
“The (Taiwan) Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed our representative office in the Philippines to immediately negotiate with the Philippines to express their protests. We solemnly call on the government officials of the Philippines to face up to the facts and stop misrepresenting Taiwan as a part of China," she said.
Taiwan insists it is a sovereign and independent country.
Like other countries, the Philippines however follows the “One-China policy,” which considers the Republic of China-controlled Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China.
Ou reiterated that Taiwan is a free and democratic country where freedom of speech is protected and that it is not deporting anyone “if they do not violate our laws and regulations in the case of migrant workers in Taiwan.”
She added that the Philippines should submit a request for mutual legal assistance to Taiwan “if the Philippine judiciary determines that the migration is illegal and is wanted in accordance with appropriate legal procedures.”
“We can negotiate with the Philippine government in accordance with relevant agreements,” she said.