Taiwan to retaliate against Duterte travel ban by cancelling visa free entry to Filipinos

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For including Taiwan and even describing it as a “special administrative region” of China, the Taipei government today communicated to the Philippine government its displeasure over the Duterte administration’s decision to ban flights to and fro the Chinese republican island due to the on-going threat posed by ┬áthe Novel Corona virus.

In an interview by ABS-CBN 2 DZMM Teleradyo, Angelito Banayo, chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office or MECO based in Taipei said the Taiwanese government may do a quid pro quo by cancelling the visa free entry of Filipinos as one of its “reactive measures” in response or retaliation of the travel ban.

Banayo said the Taiwanese government thinks the decision was laced with politics rather than a health risk concern. Last Monday, the Philippine government thru the Department of Health (DoH) included Taiwan as one of those to be “banned” after the World Health Organization (WHO) considered Taiwan as “part of China.”

Taiwan is an island state which had opposed Chinese Communist rule after the Reds overran the Kuomintang in 1949. Migrating Chinese had since resided in the island which is several kilometers away from the coasts of the Chinese mainland. Taiwan has since maintained a distinct governmental structure separate from the Socialist system in China.

Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-Wen has already directed her cabinet to come up with a list of possible retaliatory measures against the Duterte administration due to the travel ban. In 2017, Taiwan lifted its visa restrictions and allowed a 14-day visa free privilege for Filipinos as an expression of the amity between the two countries. The visa-free privileges had been extended to July of this year.

Officially though, the Philippines observes a “one China policy” under the 1975 Joint Communique between former Chinese president and Party chairman Mao Tsetung and former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos.

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