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Taiwan hits out at Philippines over deportations

TAIPEI, February 6, 2011 (AFP) – Taiwan has threatened to review exchanges and cooperation with the impoverished Philippines after Manila deported 14 Taiwanese to China instead of to the island.

Taiwanese legislators are demanding the island’s de facto envoy in Manila be recalled, but Foreign Minister Timothy Yang said only that “all possible options are under consideration”, the state Central News Agency said.

There are no official diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the Philippines, but the foreign ministry in Taipei said Sunday it would “seriously review the current exchanges and ties between Taiwan and the Philippines”.

“We’ve offered them physical assistance in various cooperation and exchange projects,” Steve Shia, a spokesman for the ministry, told AFP of ties in general.

The dispute erupted after the group of Taiwanese, along with 10 Chinese nationals, were arrested in Manila in December for allegedly swindling $20 million in an international scam targeting mainland Chinese.

All were deported to China last week despite Taiwanese authorities requesting that those from Taiwan be returned to the island.

The Philippines, like most countries, formally recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei, but maintains trade and tourism ties with Taiwan.

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