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Tsai calls for early cross-strait negotiations over deportation row

ROC Central News Agency

2016/04/12 22:51:10

Taipei, April 12 (CNA) President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) called Tuesday for China to start negotiations with Taiwan immediately to address the issue of Taiwanese nationals sent by Kenya to China in connection with phone fraud in the African country.

Tsai, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), also expressed the party's serious condemnation and protest over the forced deportation of Taiwanese nationals to China by the Kenyan police.

She warned that the incident will deepen the negative image of China among the Taiwanese public, and called for Beijing to start negotiating with Taiwan immediately.

"The Beijing authorities do not have the right to deal with the deportation of Taiwanese nationals on behalf of our own government," she said.

If Taiwanese nationals commit crime overseas, they should be sent back to their home country to face trial, Tsai said.

"The Beijing authorities' ignorance of our own sovereignty and jurisdiction over the case has deeply hurt relations across the Taiwan Strait," she said.

Tsai also said that her party gives full support to the government's decision to send officials to China to conduct negotiations on the issue and to ensure the safety of the Taiwanese nationals and help them return to Taiwan as soon as possible.

"They are Taiwanese," Tsai said, noting that the government has the obligation to ensure the safety of every Taiwanese national, wherever they are.

To date, the Kenyan authorities have handed over to China a total of 45 Taiwanese nationals who allegedly were members of various Kenya-based telecommunications fraud rings that targeted Chinese victims.

The first incident occurred April 8, when eight Taiwanese were put on a flight to China, three days after they were acquitted by a Kenyan court for illegal telecom operations.

On Tuesday, Kenyan police brandished submachine guns and tear gas to force another 37 Taiwanese to board a plane bound for China. They included 22 who were arrested April 8 and 15 others who were also acquitted April 5.

Considering the move a violation of Taiwan's jurisdiction over its nationals, the government has lodged a strong protest to Nairobi after its efforts to block the move failed.

(By Lee Ming-tsung and Elaine Hou)

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