China's envoy keeps silence on controversial statement

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian has maintained his silence over his controversial remark related to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan and instead called to maintain the friendship between the Philippines and China.

In his first public appearance on Wednesday after issuing what senators saw as a veiled threat against OFWs, Huang dodged questions from reporters seeking to clarify his pronouncement.

What he only said at a chance interview with reporters: "The China-Philippine[s] friendship have lasted for centuries, if not millennium, and those friendships should be cherished. And we believe that's the future we called on the younger generation to pass on this generation from one to next."

Huang attended the International Chinese Language Day in Manila, where he mostly talked about Beijing-Manila friendship.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila earlier said that Huang was only "misquoted" and "misinterpreted" by some when he said that the Philippines must oppose the supposed Taiwan independence if its really cares about the OFWs there.

"The Philippines is advised to unequivocally oppose 'Taiwan independence' rather than stoking the fire by offering the US access to the military bases near the Taiwan Strait if you care genuinely about the 150,000 OFWs," Huang said in a prepared English speech at the recent 8th Manila Forum.

Reporters sought for further clarification from the embassy regarding his speech after it earned the criticism of several senators, including Risa Hontiveros and Raffy Tulfo, but it said it had no other comment.

In a press release on Wednesday, Tulfo said Huang called him a "bully," while his remark "unacceptable."

"To Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, this is not acceptable, and we will never bow down to this kind of bullying! Sa mga kababayan natin sa Taiwan, huwag po kayong mabahala. Hinding-hindi po namin kayo pababayaan (To our fellow Filipinos in Taiwan, don't worry. We will not neglect you)," Tulfo said.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Hontiveros called on Malacañang to tell Beijing to recall Huang as soon as possible for his "truly disgraceful statements."