Marcos to summon Chinese envoy

(UPDATE) SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said he would talk to Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian over the latter’s comments on the Taiwan issue.

“I interpret it 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. That’s how I take it,” Marcos said during a chance interview after the groundbreaking of the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino housing projects here.

“But I will be talking to the ambassador soon, and I am sure he will be very anxious to give his own interpretation of what he was trying to say,” he added.

The Chinese diplomat said the Philippines should oppose “Taiwan independence” if it genuinely cares about the 150,000 Filipinos working on the island. He added that the Philippines should not give American troops access to the country’s military bases.

Marcos said Huang’s statement could have been misinterpreted.

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“English is not his first language, but I’m very interested to know what it is that he meant. We were all a little surprised, but I just put it down to the difference in language,” the President added.

Huang issued the statement after the identification of four new additional American military installations in Cagayan, Isabela and Palawan under the Philippines’ Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States.

Marcos said that the four new EDCA sites would not be used for any offensive action, but only for the defense of Philippine territory.

China, on the other hand, noted that three of the four additional EDCA sites are near Taiwan.

“Some tried to find excuse for the new EDCA sites by citing the safety of the 150,000 OFWs in Taiwan, while China is the last country that wishes to see conflict over the Strait because people on both sides are Chinese,” Marcos said.

Some lawmakers and groups have called for Huang’s expulsion from the Philippines.

The Chinese Embassy said Huang’s remarks on Taiwan OFWs and EDCA sites were merely misquoted.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that no Filipino in Taiwan is seeking government help for repatriation amid the escalating tensions between the self-ruled island and China.

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