When A State Isn’t A State

16 May

taiwan-philippine1Taiwan has slapped The Philippines with sanctions for not apologizing with sufficient respect for the death of a Taiwanese fisherman during a confrontation with the Philippines Coast Guard.

Earlier on Wednesday Taiwan recalled its envoy to the Philippines. The sanctions included the freezing of applications for work permits, and the cessation of economic exchanges and military exercises in waters between the two sides. A spokesman for Philippine president, Benigno Aquino, had said a formal apology was being offered to the appropriate authority in Taiwan over the “unfortunate loss” of the fisherman.

But Taiwan’s premier, Jiang Yi-huah, said the apology was inadequate because it called the fisherman’s death unfortunate and unintentional, according to a statement from the Taiwan government on its website.

“We can absolutely not accept this,” Jiang was quoted as saying. The fisherman was killed in a shooting last week by the Philippine coastguard in waters off the northern Philippines. Taiwan said the killing took place in its exclusive economic zone and was a violation of international law.

A Philippines fisheries official said earlier one of its vessels, acting under the threat of being rammed, opened fire last Thursday on a Taiwanese fishing boat about 170 nautical miles south-east of Taiwan, killing one person on board.

Taiwan had issued an ultimatum to the Philippines to apologise to the man’s family. A Taiwan defence ministry official said military vessels and aircraft would be dispatched to the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines for a two-day military drill.

A spokesman for the Philippines president, Edwin Lacierda, told a news conference in Manila an apology was being offered and he appealed to Taiwan not to take out its anger on the more than 85,000 Filipinos working in Taiwan, many as domestic workers.

“We understand the grief and hurt of the family and of the people of Taiwan over this unfortunate loss and we empathise with them,” Lacierda said, appealing for “calm and sobriety”.

“Let us not involve our Filipino compatriots there. They are there working and they are there working for an honest living.” Aquino had ordered a “thorough, exhaustive, impartial and expeditious investigation” into the shooting, Lacierda said.

Ben at Letters from Taiwan argues that Manila is right: Taiwan doesn’t deserve to be treated like a real state, because it isn’t one.

…[A]lthough I disagree with his acceptance of the toxic One China policy, Aquino is exactly correct in what he says. No amount of indignant exclamations to the contrary will change that fact. Perhaps Ma ‘The Constitutionalist’ Ying-jeou now understands what Chen felt like when he was similarly rebuffed and belittled in the international community. No wonder the KMT is up in arms given that they used to haul Chen across the coals for every slight against Taiwan’s international standing as evidence of his provocative ideological stance on simply stating that de facto independent Taiwan should be treated with some respect as a nation state. This is deeply deeply embarrassing for them. Furthermore, it belies the utter failure of the Ma’s diplomatic truce and mutual non-denial chimeras. Dear Wang, the Philippines can treat you that way and they are treating you that way and if you have a problem with it perhaps you should call the Presidential office to enquire how your Party’s President’s One China policy is not delivering any meaningful growth in Taiwan’s international presence or soft or hard power.

Taiwan’s opposition is acting irresponsibly, with ridiculous protests, and even if Cole thinks the Ma administration in Taipei has done well, Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-jeou, is not polling well.

The Philippines Navy will also monitor Taiwan’s announced military exercises near North Luzon.


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