Taiwan recalls envoy to Philippines, sends naval ships in fishing spat
TAIPEI: Taiwan on Wednesday recalled its envoy to the Philippines, froze applications for work permits and ordered military exercises in waters between the two sides to press its demand for an apology for the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman.
Taiwan earlier had issued an ultimatum to the Philippines to apologise to the family of the fisherman who died in a shooting last week by the Philippine Coast Guard in waters off the northern Philippines.
"Due to the Philippines government's insufficient ... sincerity and its inconsistency, President Ma Ying-jeou expresses strong dissatisfactions and he cannot accept the reckless and perfunctory responses from the Philippines," the Presidential Office said in a statement.
After a high-level meeting, it added, Taiwan decided to immediately impose sanctions, including the recall of its envoy and a freeze on work permit applications.
More than 85,000 Filipinos work in Taiwan, many as domestic workers.
Further measures could also be imposed, Premier Jiang Yi-huah told reporters, including an end to visa-free access to Taiwan for Philippine nationals and stopping economic exchanges.
Separately, a Taiwan Defence Ministry official said military vessels and aircraft would be dispatched to the Bashi Channel, which divides Taiwan and the Philippines, to carry out a two-day military drill.
The Philippines and Taiwan, as well as China, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, are embroiled in diplomatic rows over territory in the nearby South China Sea, potentially rich in oil and gas and criss-crossed by crucial shipping lanes.
The disputes have sometimes escalated to confrontation between vessels. The Philippines and Taiwan have overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in waters to the Philippines north.
A Philippines fisheries official said one of its vessels, acting under the threat of being rammed, opened fire last Thursday on a Taiwanese fishing boat about 170 nautical miles southeast of Taiwan, killing one person on board.
The Philippines has expressed sympathy over what it called an "unfortunate" incident and promised to conduct an investigation, but has stopped short of an official apology.
James Ong (Singapore)
The South China Sea have many flashpoints due to competing claims of many nations.
Now, what is in everyone's mind is this, "will Taiwan and the Philippines come to blows in the disputed waters?"
The Philippines was aggressive, shooting more than 50 bullets, at an unarmed Taiwanese fishing vessel and killing a fisherman in the process.
Even if it was true that the Taiwanese fishing vessel was going to ram into the coast guard vessel, the Philippines' coast guard should have resorted to either shooting warning shots into the air or shouting warnings through loudspeakers.
Even Japan coastguards do not resort to shooting bullets, though they have got machines guns on board, but instead use water cannons to spray water at intruding vessels.
In the above incident, the Philippines and Taiwan have overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in waters to the Philippines north. And it would be reasonable to expect vessels from the two nations to be in the disputed waters at the same time.
Has the Philippines gone overboard, just because it has got the US behind her back? I think she has behaved badly and unprofessionally against intruding vessels, if at all, the Taiwanese fishing vessel was intruding.
Susnatha Nath (Silchar)
A new development of turmoil in the region !
An investigation is already on its way, why can't Taiwan just wait for another week or month at the most? Taiwan cannot impose anything on us. The government has already apologized, expressed deep regret and promised compensation to the victim. What more do they want? Let Taiwan do what they want. The Philippines will never start an escalation if ever there would be one. Since Taiwan is playing hard, I hope the Philippines would also play Taiwan's game. Repatriate all Filipino citizens. Let's see whose economy would crumble first. I am not proud of what the philippine coast guard did, but this is already a case of harassment by the Taiwanese Government.
Badabing (USA) replies to Raphael
Repatriate all what? You couldn't even handle a banana embargo from China the last time when a bunch of HK tourists were slaughtered in the center of Manila. Don't forget that PRC is licking their chops right now for this Godsend. Aquino being so imbecilic in his handling of this matter, he gave Taiwan no choice but to up the ante so ROC won't be called weaklings by their own people. PRC is just going to fan that flame and start their own rounds of playing for keeps.
Raphael replies to Badabing
Well obviously you don't know that there are more than 80,000 Filipino workers in taiwan and most work as domestic workers and manufacturing laborers. If we pull out our citizens, their economy will surely be affected since they have a weak workforce. What I really don't understand is why Taiwan is being aggressive? They're being China this time. The Philippines has already complied with Taiwan, then why are they being so stubborn? I hope our government would really stand its ground, i am fed up with Philippine leaders, especially the president, who just allow other nations to tell us what to do.
Stupd Philippine. the last to do is to make the enemy of their enemy..... their own enemy. For sure any conflict between China and Philipine in the future, Taiwan will be on China side (at least for the public)
Ketan Tirodkar (Mumbai)
Can we learn from example set by Taiwan? A small nation as compared to ours can show such determination & guts.
A fisherman was shot by Philippine coast guard and Taiwan has recalled the envoy stopped work permit applications etc., In India once a month more than 100 fishermen are shot by Sri Lankan Coast guard but there are no actions taken. Are Taiwanese acting wierd or it is the right way to approach such a confrontation. India will never dare to do that.
Taiwan recalls envoy to Philippines just because a fisherman from Taiwan was killed by Philippines Coast Guard.... How foolish is this act???? Taiwanese Govt should learn from India..... Time & again we are being attacked by Terrorists from Pakistan and we seek MFN status.... We give the PM of Pakistan a red carpet welcome when he comes to Ajmer.... The list is endless..... And Taiwan recalls its envoy.... Utter Foolishness..... Coming to the actual point, can Indian Government be more degradable than this fact..... Utterly Pathetic.... No wonder, every Country gets away with its act in case the same is against India...... Sometimes, feel ashamed on being an Indian.....
That's a bold move from Taiwan...India should also handle fisherman killings by Sri Lankans in such a bold manner.