Palace spokesman Harry Roque made, at the very least, a misleading statement when he claimed that it was up to China whether a Filipino caregiver working in Taiwan could be deported for criticizing the Philippine government’s quarantine measures.

“We leave that wholly to the jurisdiction of Taiwan and China. Taiwan is part of China, we respect that decision and of course in the same way that we will enforce our law on all foreigners while they are under our jurisdiction,” Roque said in an interview with Karen Davila of the ABS-CBN News Channel on April 29.

Roque himself implied in a press briefing the following day that the context of his statement was the “one-China policy,” the diplomatic line that acknowledges the People’s Republic of China as the sole government in China.

READ: Covid-19: Beijing says Taiwan is part or China. So PH banned Taiwan

This claim is in conflict with that of the Republic of China (ROC), which also maintains that it is the legitimate Chinese government, but based in Taiwan, the southeastern island to which the Kuomintang nationalists fled after their defeat to the Mao-led communists at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

While China maintains that Taiwan is merely a renegade province that will reunify with the mainland someday, the ROC is considered the de facto government in Taiwan.

The ROC also maintains unofficial relations with many countries through economic and cultural offices, which are de facto embassies, and is either a member or observer in more than 50 international bodies.

Reacting to Roque’s statement, Taiwan foreign affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou said: “My country expresses strong dissatisfaction and high regret over Philippine government officials wrongly accusing Taiwan as part of China.”

While the Philippines and may countries observe the one-China policy, for instance by not maintaining official ties with the ROC, it defies reality for Malacañang to say that Beijing has a hand in Taiwan’s immigration policies, short of retaking the island by force.

Asked about Taiwan’s statement on April 30, Roque sought to move on from an obvious gaffe.

“We have always had one position in this regards together with many countries of the world, I leave it at that,” he told reporters. (