Philippines–Taiwan relations

Philippines - Republic of China relations


Diplomatic Mission
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines Manila Economic and Cultural Office

Philippines–Republic of China relations are foreign relations between the Republic of the Philippines and Republic of China (Taiwan). The Philippines maintains relations with Taiwan through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila.[1]


The ancestral origin of the majority of Filipinos and other Austronesian peoples is in Taiwan.

In the 1600’s, Ming dynasty loyalist Koxinga planned an invasion of the Spanish Philippines from their base in Taiwan, but this was never carried out due to their defeat by the Qing dynasty.

The Philippines has officially recognized the Republic of China as the sole representative of China in the past. Formal diplomatic relations were ended with the establishment of formal relations between the Philippines and the People's Republic of China on June 9, 1975.[2] During the time that the two countries had formal relations, the Philippines allowed the Republic of China to direct and manage all the Chinese schools in the country. When formal diplomatic relationship ended, the Philippines decided to take over in managing the Chinese schools. As of now, the People's Republic of China has no intervention of local Chinese schools, except for bilaterial partnerships.

However, the two countries established representative offices as de facto embassies, with Taiwan informally represented by the Pacific Economic and Cultural Center in Manila and the Philippines by the Asian Exchange Center in Taipei.[3] In December 1989, the Pacific Economic and Cultural Center was renamed the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines and the Asian Exchange Center was renamed the Manila Economic and Cultural Office.[1]

In early March 2011, the Philippines deported 15 Taiwanese drug pushers to Beijing, China. Taiwan protested against this action. The Philippine government sent Manuel Roxas II to talk with Republic of China President Ma Ying-jeou. During the visit, Roxas mentioned that the Philippines "regret" their actions. But Taiwan maintained that the Philippines apologize for their action. The mission failed, so a second one was sent, headed again by Roxas. The mission, however, failed.

On May 9, 2013, relations between the Philippines and Taiwan was tested again following the aftermath of the Guang Da Xing No. 28 incident where a Philippine Coast Guard confronted a Taiwanese fishing vessel causing one fatality. Relations were again strained until on August 7, 2013, when the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation recommended homicide charges against eight Philippine Coast Guard personnel involved in the shooting and recommended sanctions against four others for allegedly trying to alter evidence.[4] An official apology was made by a Philippine delegation to the victim's family the following day.[5] Taiwan subsequently lifted the sanctions it imposed against the Philippines and issued a statement announcing that relations between the two countries have normalized.[4][6]

In August 2016, Taiwan's new government, headed by Tsai Ing-wen since May 2016, announced its New Southbound Policy shall focus on relations with the Philippines. Among the focal points for the Taiwan-Philippines cooperations are trade and investment, agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, SMEs, ICT, climate change, education, and culture.[7] The new policy was gladly accepted and approved by the new government of the Philippines, headed by Rodrigo Duterte since July 2016.[8]

In 2017, the Philippines and Taiwan inked an updated investment deal in Makati, the Philippines’ financial hub. The deal expanded to include the financial sector, infrastructure, and intellectual property of the two countries, far from a similar agreement in 1992 that only included the manufacturing sector. The two sides also signed six other deals as part of ministerial trade and economic consultations, including memoranda of understanding on “green” energy, insurance industry supervision, and professional training. The PRC government filed protests against the Philippines to stop the agreements, nonetheless, the agreements were signed on schedule. A poll in 2017 noted a huge increase in Filipino support towards Taiwanese independence from mainland China. The Philippines also supports the membership of Taiwan in UNESCO, in recognition of Taiwan's holistic conservation of heritage sites.[9]

In January 2018, Taiwan provided aid to the Philippines to rehabilitate war-torn Marawi in Mindanao.[10] Taiwan also sent its legislative speaker and numerous parliamentarians to the Philippines to further promote parliamentary exchanges and relations between the two nations.[11]

Bilateral relation

The strong Taiwanese economy, particularly in the manufacturing industries, attracts cheap manual labor from the Philippines.[12] Most Filipinos working in Taiwan work as factory workers, domestic workers, construction workers, fishermen and professionals, and they send a large part of their earnings to their families in the Philippines.[13] Many Taiwanese men have also chosen Filipino women as brides through arranged marriages. An estimated 7,000 Filipino women now live there with their Taiwanese husbands. Filipino laborers in Taiwan are usually vulnerable to exploitation by their employers, a situation common to unskilled migrant workers all over the world. The Taiwanese government has been receptive to the cases involving mistreatment of Filipino workers in Taiwan. Filipino migrant caretakers in Taiwan have to go through a broker system that collects most of their monthly earnings, demands long work hours without overtime pay, and offers no days off.[14] Some caretakers have to work for 24 hours a day. Home caretakers typically receive monthly salaries much lower than the standard set by the government because they are not covered by Taiwan's Labor Standards Act. Labor Rights for the Filipino workers have been recently improved in a very substantial manners by the Taiwanese government by pressuring their employers to offer increased wages. Nowadays, a high portion of Filipinos residing in Taiwan receive higher amount of wages in comparison with the local Taiwanese residents and the Taiwanese government has been providing excellent quality education to all Filipino children residing in the country.

Taiwan-Philippines bilateral trade volume reached US$12 billion in 2013. In 2013, Taiwan's export to the Philippines totaled US$9.78 billion while Taiwan's import from the Philippines reached a total of US$2.2 billion. In 2014, the Philippines was the 8th largest export and the 25th largest import partner to Taiwan, whereas Taiwan was the 9th largest export and 3rd largest import partner for the Philippines. Meanwhile, Taiwan was also the 7th largest foreign investor in the Philippines for Taiwan in 2014.

Taiwan was the 9th largest tourist source for the Philippines, whereas the Philippines was the 9th largest source of visitors for Taiwan in 2014.

In 2014, there were more than 100,000 Filipino workers and migrants in Taiwan. The annual remittance from Filipino workers in Taiwan amounted to more than US$100 million.

The air-links between Taipei/Kaohsiung and Manila are daily operated by China Airlines, Eva Air, Philippine Airlines, and Cebu Pacific Air.

The mutual interactions and exchanges in other areas like culture, education, agriculture and aquaculture are vibrant.

Filipinos enjoy a visa-waiver from entering Taiwan for tourism and business purposes up to 14 days.[15] This took effect November 1, 2017 and due to expire July 31, 2018 but was extended until July 31, 2019. Prior to this, Filipinos need to secure a Travel Authorization Certificate or E-visa before traveling to Taiwan. Taiwanese visitors on the other hand need to secure an E-visa before traveling to the Philippines through MECO.

Economic relation

The total investment amount between the Philippines and Taiwan in 2016 reached up to US$147.7 billion. Taiwan was the 3rd largest foreign investor in the Philippines.

  • Philippine exports to Taiwan: US$2.06 billion
  • Philippine imports from Taiwan: US$5.06 billion[16]


As of December 2016, there were 136,400 overseas Filipino contract workers in the entire island as per official count of Taiwan’s Workforce Development Agency (WDA) of the Ministry of Labor (MOL).[16] Philippine holidays such as Independence day and José Rizal's birthday are also celebrated by the Filipino community in Taiwan.[17][18] Taiwanese tourists in the Philippines for the period of January to December 2016 reached 231,801.[16]

Diplomatic incidents

Territorial Conflict at Batanes

On 9 May 2013, the Philippine Coast Guard opened fire in open seas between the two countries on a Taiwanese fishing boast, killing one fisherman, after the fishermen did not leave the area when Filipino officials told to. The waters of the area are internationally recognized as Philippine waters.[19] Following the incident, Taiwan imposed sanctions on the Philippines, including the freeze of Filipino hires since the Filipino authorities refused and ignored the request for an apology to the families of the victim. The Taiwanese Coast Guard conducted rhythmic patrolling in waters between Taiwan and the Philippines, but only in the areas near Taiwan as the Philippines has complete control of the waters of Batanes, the northernmost islands of the Philippines.[20]

United Nations Tribunal ruling

In January 2013, the Philippines formally initiated arbitration proceedings against China's claim on the territories within the "nine-dash line" that includes Spratly Islands, which it said is "unlawful" under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).[21][22] An arbitration tribunal was constituted under Annex VII of UNCLOS and it was decided in July 2013 that the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) would function as registry and provide administrative duties in the proceedings.[23]

On 12 July 2016, the arbitrators of the tribunal of PCA agreed unanimiously with the Philippines. They concluded in the award that there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources, hence there was "no legal basis for China to claim historic rights" over the nine-dash line.[24] Accordingly, the PCA tribunal decision is ruled as final and non-appealable by either countries.[25][26] The tribunal also criticized China's land reclamation projects and its construction of artificial islands in the Spratly Islands, saying that it had caused "severe harm to the coral reef environment".[27] It also characterized Taiping Island and other features of the Spratly Islands as "rocks" under UNCLOS, and therefore are not entitled to a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.[28] China however rejected the ruling, calling it "ill-founded".[29] Taiwan, which currently administers Taiping Island, the largest of the Spratly Islands, also rejected the ruling.[30]


ROC Representatives to the Philippines

ROC Ambassadors to the Philippines

See also


  1. 1 2 Ensuring Interests: Dynamics of China-Taiwan Relations and Southeast Asia, Khai Leong Ho, Guozhong He, Institute of China Studies, University of Malaya, 2006, page 25
  2. Philippines and Peking formalize relationship, sign trade pact The Morning Record, June 11, 1975
  3. The International Law of Recognition and the Status of the Republic of China, Hungdah Chiu in The United States and the Republic of China: Democratic Friends, Strategic Allies, and Economic Partners, Steven W. Mosher, Transaction Publishers, 1992, page 24
  4. 1 2 Legaspi, Amita (8 August 2013). "Taiwan lifts all 11 sanctions vs. PHL, including hiring freeze". GMA News and Public Affairs. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  5. Hou, Elaine (8 August 2013). "Philippine envoy to apologize to family of dead fisherman". Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  6. Hou, Elaine (8 August 2013). "Taiwan lifts sanctions, says ties with Manila 'normal' again". Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  12. Refworld - Taiwan: Information on the Filipino community
  13. Inquirer - Global Nation: Filipina for Filipinas in Taiwan Archived 2012-09-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. - Pinoy workers in Taiwan want labor rights
  16. 1 2 3 "Friendship and goodwill: Revisiting Philippine-Taiwan relations". Manila Bulletin News. Retrieved 2017-08-16.
  17. Philippine News - Filipino workers to celebrate Independence Day in Taiwan Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. GMA News - OFWs in Taiwan mark Rizal's birthday
  19. Calderon, Justin (13 May 2013). "Taipei threatens Manila with sanctions". Inside Investor. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  20. Taiwanese Military Drills Amid Sea Dispute May 16, 2013 Wall Street Journal
  21. "Timeline: South China Sea dispute". Financial Times. 12 July 2016.
  22. Beech, Hannah (11 July 2016). "China's Global Reputation Hinges on Upcoming South China Sea Court Decision". TIME.
  23. "Press Release: Arbitration between the Republic of the Philippines and the People's Republic of China: Arbitral Tribunal Establishes Rules of Procedure and Initial Timetable". PCA. 27 August 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  24. "Press Release: The South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People's Republic of China)" (PDF). PCA. 12 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  25. "A UN-appointed tribunal dismisses China's claims in the South China Sea". The Economist. 12 July 2016.
  26. Perez, Jane (12 July 2016). "Beijing's South China Sea Claims Rejected by Hague Tribunal". The New York Times.
  27. Tom Phillips, Oliver Holmes, Owen Bowcott (12 July 2016). "Beijing rejects tribunal's ruling in South China Sea case". The Guardian.
  28. Chow, Jermyn (12 July 2016). "Taiwan rejects South China Sea ruling, says will deploy another navy vessel to Taiping". The Straits Times.
  29. "South China Sea: Tribunal backs case against China brought by Philippines". BBC. 12 July 2016.
  30. Jun Mai, Shi Jiangtao (12 July 2016). "Taiwan-controlled Taiping Island is a rock, says international court in South China Sea ruling". South China Morning Post.
  31. "Taiwan's new rep in PHL assumes post". GMA News Online. 4 October 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
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