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Dr. Gloria Jumamil-Mercado Addresses the Prospects for Philippines-Taiwan Relations under the One China Policy
Publish date : 2017-11-27
Dr. Gloria Jumamil-Mercado, currently the Undersecretary and Executive Director, Office of the Cabinet Secretary, Office of the President, Republic of the Philippines, is the recipient of 2017 Distinguished Overseas Alumni of National Sun Yat-Sen University (NSYSU). Dr. Jumamil-Mercado received her Ph.D. from Graduate Institute of Mainland China Studies (now Institute of China and Asia-Pacific Studies) in 2007. During her visit to her alma mater, Dr. Jumamil-Mercado made a presentation of her dissertation: “Philippines-Taiwan Relations in the One China Policy: An Analysis of the Changing Relations Pattern” in the College of Social Science, NSYSU, on Nov. 13th.

Dr. Jumamil-Mercado first examined the 1987 Constitution of Republic of the Philippines and pointed out the top three foreign policy priorities of the Philippines: national security, development diplomacy, and the promotion of the welfare of the Filipinos overseas. National security is defined as both the defense and human security. The welfare and protection of Filipino workers overseas is a crucial concern for Philippines’ national interests given the 12Million Filipinos working all over the world. With Taiwan currently hosting over one hundred and twenty thousand Filipino workers, the Philippines therefore sees Taiwan as an important partner in its Track 2 diplomacy.

Furthermore, Dr. Jumamil-Mercado averred that due to the physical proximity between Taiwan and the Philippines, historically speaking, the trading route between the two regions has always been very robust. Whether it was during the pre-colonial time, the Spanish and American colonial period, or after the independence of Republic of the Philippines, the trading route between Taiwan and the Philippines continuous to flourish. In the 1975 Joint Communiqué between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China (PRoC), both sides agreed on a consensus and part of it is a strict adherence to the One-China Policy. However, despite the Philippines’ consent on One-China principles, the trading relations between Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Philippines remained unhinged, and continued to grow during the different Administrations. Undoubtedly, Taiwan remains an important trading partner of the Philippines.

The Republic of the Philippines is one of the founding member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and plays a crucial role in the organization. Philippines’ official position regarding the One-China Policy is always in adherence to the 1975 Communique and is aligned with the position of the ASEAN. Of late, it is even a deeper engagement with China. Like other ASEAN countries, this position, however, meant that the unofficial relations with Taiwan along trade, education and cultural exchanges, and other forms of partnership will persist for as long as it does not impinge into the metes and bounds of the One China Policy. The issue then is how to re-invent Philippines-Taiwan Relations.

Although under the current international order, the Philippine cannot officially engage Taiwan, Dr. Jumamil-Mercado maintains that there are many issues, such as the rights and welfare of Filipino workers and students, humanitarian aid, border security, and the veritable trading relation between the two sides, necessitates that the Philippines and Taiwan should work together more closely and undertake collaborative initiatives along the framework of people to people socialization. As the case of Taiwan Education Center (sponsored by NSYSU) shows, the Philippines and Taiwan has built numerous non-governmental cooperation platforms to increase the economic, cultural and educational exchange between the two countries. In sum, the Philippines-Taiwan relations will continue to deepen and tighten under the current cooperation paradigm of more proactive people to people contact.
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