PBBM wants to meet Chinese envoy on Taiwan OFWs remark


PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said he wants to meet with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian soon to seek clarification over the diplomat’s controversial remark about the safety of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Taiwan.

“I’ll be talking to the Ambassador soon. And I’m sure he will be—I’m sure he’ll be very anxious to give his own interpretation of what he was trying to say,” Marcos said in an interview with reports in Bulacan on Wednesday.

Xilian was reported to have said that the safety of the OFWs in Taiwan may be compromised if the country continues to grant the United States (US) forces access to its military bases through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

He issued the statement after China recently adopted a tougher stance on the self-governing Taiwan, which it maintains as a part of its territory, after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US lawmakers, including House speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.

Some lawmakers and other groups condemned the statement as a veiled threat from the Chinese government.

Meanwhile, it prompted the Department of National Defense and National Security Council to stress that the country is not meddling with the internal affairs of China and Taiwan.

Marcos, however, said Xilian may have simply not been able to completely translate what he meant in English.

“English is not his first language but I’m very interested to know what it is that he meant,” Marcos said.

“I interpret it [Xilian’s statement] as him trying to say that you should not—the Philippines do not provoke or intensify the tensions because it will impact badly on the Filipinos in [Taiwan],” he added.

Last Monday, the Chinese Embassy in Manila said Xilian’s statement about OFWs was “misquoted” and taken out of context by some members of the media. This, after the diplomat’s remarks drew flak from some lawmakers and many groups who deemed it as veiled threat using the OFWs as a virtual hostage.