Philippines distances itself from China-Taiwan tension

Philippines will only intervene in a potential China-Taiwan dispute if Filipinos are involved

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File photo: Salvador Panelo, left, with Rodrigo Duterte

File photo: Salvador Panelo, left, with Rodrigo Duterte (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Philippines will not get involved in disputes between China and Taiwan, unless overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are involved, said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Jan. 7.

“It’s between the two countries. Our concern is our OFWs there. When there’s already a problem arising out of that conflict, then we need to act for the safety of our OFWs,” said Panelo during a press briefing, reported the Manila Standard.

When asked whether the Philippines would support Taiwan in a dispute with China, Panelo said that it depends, and that the matter would be taken up by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The comments were made by Panelo in response to a series of questions which drew on Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) calling for the international community to support its democracy in the face of threats from China on Jan. 5.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Labor, there were 122,852 Filipino workers in Taiwan at the end of November 2018.