Taiwan confident of stronger ties with Philippines under Duterte
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - June 14, 2016 - 6:04pm
DAVAO CITY – Taiwan is optimistic that its bilateral relationship with the Philippines will be strengthened under the administration of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.
 
Gary Song-Huann Lin, the representative of Taiwan in the Philippines, said Manila would be Taipei’s most important partner in the region because of its new “southbound policy.”
 
The policy is a five-year plan that aims to promote cooperation between Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries in areas like investments, education, human resources, agriculture, tourism and culture.
 
“The Philippines will be our most important partner in the ASEAN region. The Philippines will be the forefront and gateway of Taiwan investors (in the) ASEAN region,” Lin said in a chance interview Tuesday here.
 
“I’m sure that with your incoming government, the bilateral relationship between the Philippines and Taiwan will grow from strength to strength,” he added.
 
Lin, a personal friend of Duterte, said the incoming Philippine president visited Taiwan several times in the past and “has a very deep understanding” of its economy. He said Taiwan is looking forward to enhancing its ties with the Philippines in agriculture, aquaculture, trade and investment, fishery, industries, industry, tourism and education.
 
“We (want) to partner with your new government under President Rody Duterte. We wish him every success,” Lin said.  
 
“The Philippines is one of the fast growing economies. You have restored the glory of your past achievements. Right now, your market is one of the biggest ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) markets. Your population of 100 million people is very young,” he added.
 
Lin said Filipino migrant workers have contributed significantly to Taiwan’s economy.
 
“There are more than 120,000 Filipinos right now working in Taiwan (and are) making great contribution towards the development of our economy and the enhancement of our ICT (information and communications technology) industry,” he said.

Campaign against crime and drugs welcomed

Lin also welcomed Duterte’s plan to declare a war against criminality and illegal drugs. He said Taiwan is ready to help the Philippines combat cross-border crimes like human and drug trafficking.
 
“Taiwan and the Philippines have already worked together for many many years. We would like to assure our Philippine friends that Taiwan will continue to work with your government to combat cross-border crime, drugs and human trafficking,” Taiwan’s representative said.
 
Lin cited the raid of a large drug manufacturing facility in Angeles City, which was made possible by the cooperation between Philippine and Taiwanese police. He said Duterte’s anti-criminality campaign would be favorable to businesses and would encourage more investments in the Philippines.
 
The People’s Republic of China (PROC) claims Taiwan as part of its territory. But Taiwan, known officially as Republic of China, regards itself as an independent sovereign state. The Philippines has been adopting a one China policy since 1975. Under the policy, the Philippines recognizes the communist PROC and cannot put up an embassy in Taiwan.
 
The Philippines, however, permits trade, cultural and people-to-people exchanges with Taiwan.

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