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Taiwan supports Philippines' 'fight against drugs': MOFA

2017/09/21 19:37:08

CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) Taiwan supports the Philippines in its fight against drugs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday in response to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's comment that Taiwan was possibly a source of drugs entering his country.

MOFA spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) told CNA that Taiwan and the Philippines have worked together in the past against cross-border crime, including drug crimes, and will seek to build on that cooperation.

MOFA, along with the ministries of Justice and the Interior, will work to enhance cooperation with the relevant Philippine authorities to help eliminate cross-border drug crimes, Wang said.

Such efforts are part of Taiwan's New Southbound Policy, which aims to improve cooperation and exchanges with 18 countries in South and Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, she said.

The general public is advised to avoid involvement in any drug related activities overseas and to be aware that drugs crimes are subject to heavy punishment in Southeast Asia, Wang said.

The comments came in the wake of a speech by Duterte on Wednesday at his country's police academy, in which he spoke about the drug problem in the Philippines and mentioned the issue of supply.

"The drug trade is an organized crime," he said. "You cannot have an operation of drugs if there is no production process from whatever source -- it could be in China, Taiwan, Philippines."

According to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, 112 foreign nationals were arrested last year in the Philippines for drug production or sale, including 44 Chinese and 29 Taiwanese citizens.

(By Elaine Hou and William Yen)