China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in the Philippines on Friday for an overnight official visit, reciprocating Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin’s visit to China last October, where he will hold bilateral meetings with his counterpart.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said Wang was welcomed in Manila by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, Foreign Undersecretary Brigido Dulay, Chinese and Department of Foreign Affairs Protocol chief Porfirio Mayo.
Soon after arrival, Senator Risa Hontiveros called on Wang to assist Philippine law enforcement agencies in arresting and deporting Chinese syndicates, particularly those involved in the smuggling of illegal vaccines and those with ties to the local Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator industry.
“China’s foreign minister should cooperate with our government to completely crack down on crime,” said Hontiveros.
Just like their aggressiveness in their claim over the West Philippine Sea, Hontiveros said they should also be aggressive in arresting their criminals here.
“Chinese criminals should be deported from our country. Our country is not a crime scene for Chinese,” she said.
Hontiveros related that the Philippine National Police arrested seven Chinese and one Filipino who were involved in the kidnapping, raping, and killing of Chinese POGO workers in San Pedro, Laguna.
“That was only one of the many crimes brought about by the POGO industry. That POGO is illegal in China, so why are they continuously operating here?“ said Hontiveros.
“Perhaps the foreign minister can help our Department of Foreign Affairs in resolving issues affecting our local POGO industry,” she said.
The Akbayan senator cited the need to stop these syndicates before they become more comfortable with the local terrain and start victimizing more Filipinos.
Hontiveros led the Senate investigation on POGO-related prostitution in the Philippines.
In December 2020, Hontiveros challenged the Bureau of Immigration to look for and arrest more illegal Chinese workers, after over 300 Chinese employees were arrested for carrying out illegal online gambling activities in Tarlac.
Last week, the senator also urged Beijing to lead its own inquiry into the unauthorized entry of COVID-19 vaccines into the country.
Meanwhile, the US government ramped up sanctions and restrictions on Chinese firms over Beijing’s actions in the disputed South China Sea, and the security threat posed by technology.
In a wide ranging series of steps unveiled in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration, Washington targeted state oil giant CNOOC and announced regulations on tech firms including embattled social media favorite TikTok.
It reflects a flurry of last-minute pressure on Beijing, following four years of aggressive diplomatic and trade policies against the rival economic power.
The Commerce Department added CNOOC to its blacklist over what it called “belligerent” actions, and the State Department restricted visas for the company’s executives, as well as government and military officials.
“China’s reckless and belligerent actions in the South China Sea and its aggressive push to acquire sensitive intellectual property and technology for its militarization efforts are a threat to US national security and the security of the international community,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
“CNOOC acts a bully for the People’s Liberation Army to intimidate China’s neighbors, and the Chinese military continues to benefit from government civil-military fusion policies for malign purposes.”
The territorial dispute has festered for years, with Beijing ignoring US protests as it built a series of artificial islands to expand its military and commercial reach in the region that is believed to have valuable oil and gas deposits -- which Washington values at $2.5 trillion.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it.
“CNOOC has repeatedly harassed and threatened offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction in the South China Sea, with the goal of driving up the political risk for interested foreign partners, including Vietnam,” the Commerce Department said. With AFP
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