• Huang spoke during the Manila Forum for China-Philippines Relations on Friday
  • He made headlines after commenting about the safety of the OFWs in Taiwan which was seen by some as an implied threat
  • The Chinese embassy on Monday said Huang was "misquoted"

Senator Risa Hontiveros urged Malacañang to ask Beijing for the removal of Chinese Envoy Huang Xilian after he "advised" the country against supporting Taiwan if the Philippines "cares genuinely" about its Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

"He has no business being a diplomat if he is unable to engage with us in a respectful and dignified manner. He, along with his country's ships and artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, should pack up and leave," Hontiveros said, as per Philippine Star, maintaning that the Philippines "will never interfere" in the conflict between China and Taiwan.

Huang addressed the 8th Manila Forum for China-Philippines Relations Friday and discussed the issue of the South China Sea. He said the Chinese government has come up with "several initiatives" to enhance "practical cooperation" between China and the Philippines including the assignment of a common fishing zone. While Huang commended the Philippines for supporting the one-China principle, he also spoke against the purpose and proximity of the new sites for the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) to Taiwan. Huang said the new EDCA sites would be used by the U.S. to support Taiwan's bid for independence thereby threatening the peace situation between countries in the region.

However, Huang's remarks about the safety of the OFWs in Taiwan was seen by some as an implied threat.

Responding to Huang's statement, the Department of National Defense said it is "prudent to prepare for any contingencies" to ensure the safety of all Filipinos abroad amid political tensions.

Migrante International, an alliance of OFW groups and their families, also reacted strongly against the Chinese ambassador's remarks, noting that "Beijing makes it appear that China is holding OFWs in Taiwan hostage."

"The biggest contribution that you can give to the opposition to US military bases, troops, and exercises in the Philippines is the cessation of your aggressive assertion of your claims over territories that are also being claimed by the Philippines," the group said Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said Huang was "misquoted or misinterpreted" on his comments on the safety of the OFWs in Taiwan amid the construction of the new EDCA sites.

"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.

Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, including the Spratlys, ignoring an international ruling that its claims have no legal basis