Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed “grave concern and deep regret” last week after Cambodia deported 46 Republic of China (ROC) citizens accused of telecom fraud to China.
According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, MOFA spokesperson Andrew Lee said that while Taiwan’s regional representative office immediately called for the suspects to be repatriated to Taiwan, Cambodia instead heeded a request from Beijing to send them to China, a close ally, in accordance with its support of the One China principle.
It’s the latest instance of Taiwan’s struggle to participate in regional joint crime-fighting as it bolsters its ties with neighboring South and Southeast Asian countries via President Tsai Ing-wen’s signature New Southbound Policy, which aims to deepen economic ties with regional neighbors and lessen the island’s reliance on trade with China. While the policy is limited by the fact that no country in Asia has formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, states like Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines have long had de facto representative offices, generally billed as economic and trade bureaus, in Taipei.
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