Taiwan Runs Amok

Shooting Incident

Southeast of Batanes, Philippines

Taiwan to me is like that guy in high school who is in your class but hangs out in a different crowd. This particular guy hangs out with the geeks, the nerds, the genius guys who take computers apart and put them back together again and they actually WORK. In other words, not bad guys, but you don’t really know them other than they have skills.

Well, imagine if one day that geeky guy and his pals ended up in the school courtyard screaming and flipping the bird and burning the Philippine flag?

It’s enough to make a guy sit up and take notice and google “Taiwan and Philippine history”.

Lo, there it is, on Wiki:

  • There are several opposing theories regarding the origins of ancient Filipinos . . .  . The Austronesian Expansion Theory states that Malayo-Polynesians coming from Taiwan began migrating to the Philippines around 4000 BCE, displacing earlier arrivals. Whatever the case, by 1000 BCE the inhabitants of the archipelago had developed into four kinds of social groups: hunter-gathering tribes, warrior societies, petty plutocracies, and maritime-centered harbor principalities.

In all likelihood, Filipinos and Taiwanese are brothers, connected by the genes. They certainly inhabit a similar space, being protected by the West against the bully red Goliath, China. So why the louder than life emotional eruption of angst and anger toward the Philippines over the unintended killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard? It’s like Taiwan has turned lunatic, ranting and raving, disregarding fact or civility or calm, to exact some kind of impossible revenge.

The poor fisherman is dead. We can’t bring him back. It’s tragic. But the aim ought to be to make the best of a bad situation, not the worst. To soothe, not injure many many more innocents as if more grief can fix things.

The ultimatum delivered by the Taiwanese government to the Philippine government is one of the most crass diplomatic moves in the annals of Asian history. Right up there with North Korea’s recent threat to nuke the U.S.  Taiwan’s list of punishments is now being implemented in blind rage.

What’s going on?

Taiwan and the Philippines are not enemies. They are trading partners and like-minded believers in democracy. They share commotaipei timesn interests and common threats. The distance between Taiwan and the northern edge of the Philippines is 218 kilometers. That is just a little further than my drive to the mall once a month to do big city shopping in Tacloban. Taiwan is the fifth largest foreign investor in the Philippines with total investment of US $1.1 billion. Annual Philippine exports to Taiwan run about $3.1 billion and imports are $2.3 billion. There are 87,000 Philippine OFW’s in Taiwan and 73,000 people per year visit the Philippines from Taiwan.

Why is Taiwan willing to toss this all to the wind by issuing ultimatums that hurt innocents (OFW applicants, Taiwanese families and businesses), economically punishing both Taiwanese and Filipinos, and bringing two peaceful nations to the brink of war in three days time? Let’s put some perspectives on the matter:

  • Historical: There are burrs under the saddle of the Taiwanese. For one thing, the Philippines has a “one China” foreign policy that offends Taiwan. Second, there have been a couple of incidents when the Philippine government has “misbehaved” in the eyes of the Taiwanese leaders. The latest was in 2011 when the Philippines deported 15 Taiwanese drug pushers to Taiwan China. Taiwan objected. President Aquino sent Mar Roxas there to try to calm the situation, but the mission failed. Taiwan demanded apology. The Philippines expressed regret but refused to apologize. That irritation has festered, and here it is again.
  • Cultural: The need for apology is very important to Chinese pride, or “face”. But apology in Philippine minds would be incorrect (the death was accidental) especially if the boat were in Philippine waters. Apology would represent the Philippines as a weak, subservient nation, not a protector of her sovereign territory. In the drug pusher case, and in this case, Taiwan’s leaders were not satisfied that the Philippines was “sincere” in its apology. The Taiwanese Prime Minister  Jiang Yi-huah personalized the matter by calling Philippine President Aquino’s explanation of the fisherman’s death unacceptable.  As if they can discern President Aquino’s sincerity from Taiwan. According to the BBC, Jiang was offended by Aquino’s statement that  the shooting was an “unfortunate and unintended loss of life” (a truth by any other measure than Taiwanese). Jiang was further offended that the Philippine regrets were delivered by the junior trade minister rather than a higher official. Ah, so that’s the issue? Egos in heat? Essentially, Taiwan wants the Philippines to engage in Chinese-style face-saving and the Philippines is saying, “we aren’t happy this occurred, but we won’t grovel”.
  • Political: The current government of Taiwan is struggling. As expressed in an article in The Economist beautifully headlined “Ma the Bumbler”, Taiwanese satisfaction with President Ma Ying-jeou has fallen to a measly 13%. The economy has grown stagnant, electricity has become exorbitantly expensive, social-security is failing, and the promise of good times from a free trade agreement with mainland China has not materialized. Maybe the pressure has become too much on leaders. Whether the political leadership of Taiwan is simply collapsing in an apoplexy of frustration and bad form, or is looking for a diversionary issue, is hard to tell. But the picture seems to be of unstable people at the helm. Taiwanese don’t like their leaders. Maybe we are seeing why. Really bad judgment.
  • Racial: Relentless emotional attacks directed at one nationality or race risks establishing stereotypes that unfairly demean or punish the subject nationality or race and its innocent members. Taiwan is on this path, rallying behind a fever pitch of condemnation from leaders, the press, and the people, to condemn and punish Filipinos whether they are a party to the incident or not. Prejudices are being established. They aren’t racial, but they are nationality-based. This is extremely offensive and irresponsible behavior on the part of the Taiwanese leadership.

The Philippines is still gathering facts. The Taiwanese are jumping to wartime footing, recalling diplomats, threatening a cut-off of trade and tourism, halting the acceptance of OFW applications, and sending war ships to patrol off the Philippine coast.

To me, the Taiwanese flare-up is junior high school macho strutting stuff. Hair pulling undiplomatic stuff. Taiwan is not the center of the world and its lecturing of the Philippines like a stern schoolmarm is ridiculous. This tragedy would pass – and maybe become an instructional incident to avoid further problems –  if Taiwan’s leaders had the emotional calm to respect the conventions of international diplomacy which grant other nations the benefit of the doubt and every courtesy.

What are my guesses as to what happened?

  • I’d guess that the Philippine Coast Guard ship over-reacted by opening fire on a civilian boat. It would have been better to be rammed and sink.
  • The killing of the fisherman was a tragic outcome of this bad operational decision-making.
  • The bad decision-making reflects poor training and very likely non-existent ground rules for operating in a tense arena, the seas of Asia. The Philippines needs more aggressive planning and training and implementation of sea operations. If the Philippines cherishes its sovereignty, it needs to operate professionally. It’s ship commanders MUST know what to do in a tense situation. Shoot first and ask questions later is not a good operating policy.
  • The fisherman’s death was not intentional and President Aquino sincerely recognizes the tragedy of it.
  • President Aquino has responded correctly. Apologize for the accidental death directly to the family of the dead fisherman (rejected by the family and Taiwan officials). Study the incident to find out what went wrong. Relieve the captain and crew. Express regret but not apologize. Explain what happened. Only the “explain” part has not yet been done.
  • The Taiwanese leadership has responded rashly and takes on the mien of North Korea, posturing and stomping and punishing her own people and innocents over perceived slights. Perceived slights. This is a self-determined reality, a notion of insult from others that is imaginary, not real.  Using it to fire up one’s own nation in a patriotic frenzy is dangerous and can only destroy, not build.

What might the Philippines do? I’m confident President Aquino will apply his normal reasoned good sense. The situation is unpredictable because of Taiwan’s emotional and hostile bearing. Here are a few thoughts.

  • Invite a neutral party to intercede to calm the Taiwanese. Maybe the U.S.  Clearly, Mr. Aquino is in one of those impossible situations where the opposing party is not interested in LISTENING, but in asserting a warped 100% self-determined correct view. It’s like blog dialogues you see that deteriorate to insult. It becomes surreal win/lose posturing, not rational listen/speak that strives for understanding. The only way to deal with such conversationalists is to stop talking to them.
  • Perhaps it would be wise if Mr. Aquino talked only to the Philippine nation, not Taiwan. Taiwan is misreading or manipulating whatever is said. Express regret to the Philippine people, but not apology. Explain exactly what happened to the Philippine people, but not Taiwan. As long as Taiwan is intent upon issuing punishments and finding every nuance of every word disagreeable, not much  can be done. It is impossible to carry on a delicate dialogue with a ranting angry person.
  • For sure contingency plans need to be put in place. Issue a simple statement to Taiwan through public channels that the Philippines holds the Taiwanese government responsible for the well-being of Filipino workers or travelers in Taiwan. Prepare to withdraw OFWs in case the situation continues to deteriorate.
  • Very clearly, the President needs to make sure his Navy and Coast Guard put in place a comprehensive, professional operating command for units operating in the tense seas of Asia. Guidelines need to be clear about when shooting is permissible: only under dire threat.

The Philippines should work to do well what the Philippines can control, and turn passive toward Taiwan and her unruly, self-destructive ways. Let Taiwanese irresponsibility stand starkly visible against a backdrop of quiet. The Taiwanese people, an educated and good people, will likely put two and two together shortly, that the problems and pain do not come from the Philippines, but from Taiwan’s erratic leadership.

Source of Photos: Times of Oman (mob), Taipei Times (map)

105 Responses to “Taiwan Runs Amok”
  1. counterflow says:

    I’m not so sure about your first point that the Coast Guard overreacted and fired on the boat, or that it was bad operational thinking at work. While the matter is still under investigation, looking at the fact that there are many incursions of foreign vessels in Filipino waters, yet cases like this are rare, even when faced with aggressive Chinese fishermen. So I am inclined to give the Coast Guard the benefit of the doubt on this one, until proven otherwise.

    • Joe America says:

      Good of you to visit and comment, counterflow. Yes, I agree I am operating on prejudice, like election violence and an easy way with triggers hereabouts. I could be wrong and giving the Coast Guard benefit of the doubt is a good position to take. I hope the results of the investigation will be announced soon because it is a festering sore until we have some findings.

    • The Mouse says:

      Wasn’t it that a Taiwanese diplomat in the US was deported because she abused her Filipino maid?

      Maybe the Philippines should demand apology from Taiwan /sarcasm

      On the other hand, this isn’t the first time this happened. I mean, there also was an incident in 2006 but details released to the media is sketchy. The only detail that I could cross check from sources is that the Taiwanese were only 500 meters from Sabtang Island in the Batanes province. But then, no uproar from Taiwan.

      I can’t help but think that of all nationalities that poaches in the Philippines, only Taiwanese(along with the Chinese) poachers seem to really be seen this aggressive. Vietnamese poachers constantly poach in Philippine waters, I have not heard or read any incident about Vietnamese trying to ram a CG vessel. It seems exclusive to Chinese or Taiwanese. One even was damn funny and it was in Youtube. A Chinese ship was trying to ram a bigger Japanese CG ship. The Chinese “fishermen” also get at odds with Koreans. And recently, a Taiwanese fishing boat was cited in Vietnam waters and Taipei reported that they were “harrassed” by Vietnamese government ships. Pft.

      One thing I have noticed with the Taiwanese media: they often erase or blur Batanes when showing the place of the incident. It’s almost like they want to manipulate the truth that it was in no way near Philippine territory. Someone ignorant of Philippine geography will be easily fooled.

      One more thing: in some images, they include Batanes in their “EEZ” (somethinng they’re not even entitled to since they are not UNCLOS signatory). How can Batanes area be “shared”(as Taiwanese claim) if it’s purely under Philippine juristiction

      Conclusion: Other than political maneuvering of Ma, I think this is an attempt of Taiwan to “steal” Philippine maritime territory like what they did to Japan a few years ago.

      Although not a fan on One-China policy, the Mouse thinks the Philippines should play it as a “protection” against Taiwanese abusive demands and bullying.

      Another thing: It was just darn funny that the Taiwanese journalists had been trying to get the US condemn the Philippine even without final investigation results. The best was when John Kerry suddenly popped out of the blue

      You know the solution to this? The Taiwanese should stay in their side of the Bashi channel. Filipinos don’t cross that despite the 200 NM EEZ. Filipinos don’t even claim it. It has been limited always to the Bashi channel. Taiwan should stop stealing her neighbors maritime territory, be it Japan or the Philippines because it makes her look like a miniature version of China

      But I don’t think Filipinos should worry or even react to Taiwanese military drilll. The US will take care of that. As far as I know, it is prohibited to use US made/bought/given military equipment against another US ally. Imagine if they escalate this even more. The Bashi channel also serves as the blood vein that links Japan and Korea to the South China sea and the US has bases there. Imagine.

      Aquino should just do “Noynoying” against tantrum-temper Taiwan and stick to the One China policy show.This will die down in weeks when Taiwan finds another hot issue to feast on

      • Joe America says:

        You know, your presentation of the reality of the seas, with fishermen being aggressive in the hunt, makes the incident look less flagrant and the Taiwanese reaction even more bizarre. I agree with your recommendations. They make good sense. I also think there may be an internal backlash in Taiwan about their government’s crass display. Taiwan’s reputation is being hurt more than The Philippine’s.

  2. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    OMG!!!! It is no wonder American Government sold Hamilton-class frigates armed-less harm-less because Filipinos are trigger happy. Imagine if they have had surface-to-surface missile I can only think what damage they would have done to the Philippines.

    PMAyers and their minions should have been checked for anger management and mental health.

    • Joe America says:

      Actually, a reputation of being wild-eyed killers with guns is probably a good deterrent to poachers and other bullies roaming the seas, except that it puts OFWs in an awkward position.

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. Ah, your forte in the analysis of inter-national relations is showing.

    2. I agree Malacanang’s handling of the incident has been proper and respectful — of Taiwanese sentiments and of the family of the deceased fisherman. Apart from @counterflow’s counterpoint and Mariano’s enthusiastic secondment 😉 :

    2.1. Considering cultural sensitivities and ‘face’, should PNoy have sent a higher-ranking official representative than MECO chairman Amadeo Perez? (Binay would have been too high-ranking but give the man something to do to earn his keep. 🙂 )

    2.2. I wonder if Taiwan is still sensitive about the ‘one China policy’ considering that it has attempted to ‘reconcile’ with the mainland in recent years?

    2.3. The economic repercussions — in trade, airline profits and in the welcoming of and treatment of OFWs – are considerable. How is one to weigh that against the death – accidental or not — of one man? This is the central question and, from the Philippine side, I think it has been answered by the official apology and the offer of support to the family of the deceased.

    3. Re yesterday’s question on national identity: The manipulation and stimulation of jingoistic fervor for reasons of domestic political expediency is a good reason why national identity should be regarded with healthy skepticism. National traits – as in cuisine and in arts – should be fostered and celebrated but not the psychological dimension of ‘identity’.

    3.1. Some people will argue that ‘roots’ are important. I agree, but would argue that the ‘earth’ in which the ‘roots’ grow are paramount.

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve only broken the surface. I’d like to know how Filipino workers in Taiwan are treated and viewed in a “class” way. Are they respected or held up as a lower, less regarded, worker class. Extending from that, is there a tinge of racism in the easy condescension, even of President Aquino. What gall to accuse a sincere man, a respected Head of State, of being insincere.

      Roxas was a pretty substantial emissary in the 2011 spat, and that failed. I think the problem is that Taiwan is not able to grasp that her approach demanding apology requires that the Philippines be humiliated. There was no intent to humiliate Taiwan in the shooting or in any subsequent acts.

      Your point 3 is very very good.

  4. The Mouse says:

    In all likelihood, Filipinos and Taiwanese are brothers, connected by the genes.

    >> Unless you are speaking of the aboriginal Taiwanese. Yes. But the majority of them now are Han descendants of either Koxinga, the Ming dynasty pirate of KMT refugees. Related to mainland Chinese. In fact, their president renamed some sort of Overseas Taiwanese group from Overseas Compatriots to Overseas Chinese

    • Joe America says:

      I appreciate the point, that the two nations come from different stock. Taiwan mainly from the north and the Philippines mainly from the south. Do you know if Taiwanese make “class” distinctions within Taiwan? Are Filipino workers respected or considered a lesser “working class”? In the US, Filipinos in the medical profession are well regarded for skill, work ethic and pleasant bearing.

      • The Mouse says:

        I can only assume. There seem to be a general dislike for Southeast Asians by East Asians. So I would presume yes given that a lot of South East Asian nations are developing. Even among themselves, these East Asians cannot seem to get along. There’s always this Japan vs Korea vs China vs Taiwan.

        This should give an overview: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/11/24/11/taiwan-diplomat-who-abused-pinay-maids-be-deported-us

        PS: I like to correct
        ” Unless you are speaking of the aboriginal Taiwanese. Yes.”

        Should be “No”.

        Aboriginal Taiwanese are considered Austronesian and scholars largely consider Taiwan the “Austronesian Homeland”. Sadly, they only make 2% of Taiwan population.

      • franz says:

        hereis is article in the taipei times that will answer your question, http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2012/09/20/2003543198/2

        • The Mouse says:

          ““It has nothing to do with discrimination,” she said. “With 460 households and more than 1,000 residents, Rueilian is a peaceful community. They are merely worried that clashes could happen because of these foreign workers, with their different skin color and different culture, going in and out of the community.”

          BEJESUS! Do they have a dictionary?

          • franz says:

            i know right? i feel that the issue is magnified by the fact that they see the filipinos as an inferior race , so it enrages them even more that now they are being “mistreated” by a bunch of “maids and servants.

          • Joe America says:

            And the Taiwanese Prime Minister operates with the same mentality, lecturing the Philippine President on proper behavior and doubting his sincerity because he is Filipino, sending his storm troopers in to join (lead) the investigation, and strutting his stuff like Hitler addressing the Poles. And he waves his military power like sea-going gestapo, trying to intimidate the lessers who have the nerve to disobey his directives..

          • Lil says:

            Pres Ma doesn’t have a sack of brains. All nationalist ego. Did he even think for a minute he’s practically threatening a fellow US ally with uhm Western supplied weapons? Always said that the nationalism makes you stupid if you arent’ already stupid and its true. Just look at how all his fellow Taiwanese reacted. That’s why I’m inclined to believe if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re under US security as well with Uncle Sam around the waters, they’d pull something like the Paracel islands on us. Ma must have remembered his limitations before he permitted the naval drills.

          • Joe America says:

            “President Ma doesn’t have a sack of brains.” ha, it for sure seems that way, plus he has the emotional foundation of a three-year old. Perhaps “Ma diplomacy” can be coined as a term to represent extraordinarily childish and arrogant condescension toward one’s good neighbors.

  5. The Mouse says:

    I feel like ramming Coast Guard ships is a Chinese/Taiwanese phenomenon.

    Japan and Taiwan fighting each other with…..water

    • Joe America says:

      Wow, superb videos and stark testimony as to the aggressiveness in Asian seas. Clearly Taiwan is no angel here, and I now understand why the captain of the Philippine Coast Guard ship could have fired at the engines of the Taiwanese boat to try to stop an intentional ramming.

      • The Mouse says:

        They are lucky that the PCG can only afford machine guns and not bazookas. They would have been toast.

        I’ve been following these Asian “in fighting” for years now. East Asia, though economically powerful (at least at the moment not sure in the future due to their aging population), is a mess. They can’t just agree with each other and this seem to spill over in the tamer Southeast Asia. The China and Taiwan (yes, Taiwan) nine dash claim and the current tension up in the Batanes area.

        And I can’t really fathom Taiwan sending its military ship and threatening war with the Philippines. Their action does not help their relations with the US. Yknow, some Taiwanese were caught stealing military technology of the US and one was even caught spying for China. To add to that, the threat of using US weapons against an ally that has an MDT with the US. Japan might even get involved since the area of the Bashi channel is its connection to the world (apart the Pacific ocean). You’d really be scratching your head.

        The KMT regime seems to be really dumb. More concerned on “saving face” rather than thinking how their actions will affect Taiwan. Should the Chinese invade, the closest area they can run to is the Philippines so they better not piss her off.

        To summarize things in picture:

        • Joe America says:

          Ahahahaha, wonderful photos. I’ve got to get that into the blog. Thanks for bringing these insights and visuals to the discussion. Very enlightening.

          • The Mouse says:

            This may sound weird but I’m more concerned about Taiwan shooting itself on its feet that the effect of its “anger” on the Philippines.

            They’re almost suicidal…. politically and perhaps, economically.

            Do you know, that Taiwan, like China, is also claiming the Senkakus? *face palm*. Taiwan may also start claiming Okinawa soon.

          • Joe America says:

            @The Mouse, I see Google’s underwater geography, and note that Taiwan is an extension of the Philippine archipelago. Therefore, the simplest solution is for the Philippines to claim Taiwan on the argument of geographic integrity.

          • The Mouse says:

            *face slap*

          • The Mouse says:

            Interesting. Never thought about the underwater geography. But given the cultural similarities of the Taiwanese Aborigines and native tribes in Northern Luzon and the inhabitans of Batanes, I think it should! Hahaha. Taiwanese Aborigines are closer to Southeast Asians than East Asians. It is, after all, considered the Austronesian homeland

  6. J says:

    There are unconfirmed rumors saying the Taiwanese fishing boats were mocking the Coast Guard while they fire warning shots, thereby provoking the unfortunate response. Seeing that video of Taiwanese fishermen ramming Japanese ships, I won’t be surprised. But of course, we don’t deal on the unconfirmed. We try to find facts first before jumping into conclusion. The Taiwanese should, too.

    • Joe America says:

      The video gives a more real perspective on what the Philippine Coast Guard had to face. It’s was like a like a wake-up call to me. To contrive that the Taiwanese fishermen were innocent as babes in the manger would be completely wrong.

      • J says:

        Exactly. If the Philippines were a more jingoistic nation, it wouldn’t even call for probe, and match Taiwan’s provocative comments. The Taiwanese seem to be forgetting that their fishermen were in fact intruding in Philippine waters.

        • The Mouse says:

          Poaching is not limited to the Taiwanese and Chinese. Our Coast Guard arrest lots of Viets too but I have NEVER seen a Viet boat trying to ram our CG. It takes a huge amount of arrogance to try to ram a bigger ship. Nor have you heard an incident of our CG shooting at Viet boat to disable the machine. Actually, this death of the Taiwanese is not the first time. Similar thing happened in 2006 but details are sketchy, All I could get that can be cross checked that it was 500 METERS off Sabtang Island (dangerously near).

          Also, one must bear in mind that the area of North Luzon is where most smuggling of humans,drugs,products are loaded so the CG should really be wary of boats that are aggressive.

          The Philippines has a problem with being loaded with criminals from China and Taiwan. A lot of them are in the Philippines illegally. The local Chinese community in the Philippines estimate that Illegal Chinese in the country is at 100,000.


          Take this with a grain of salt since it is sources from Taipei. But why would a Filipino be tried in Taiwan when the supposed “crime” happened in Philippine territory? That is unless Taiwan thinks of the Batanes area as their territory.

    • The Mouse says:

      If it is true, it is then a very painful case of ……karma.

      • J says:

        As Rafael Alunan said: “China will take over Taiwan one of these days, and I will not shed a tear. Even without that formal takeover, they seem to be in bed together applying the same tactics against us and Japan in our respective territories.”

        • The Mouse says:

          Scary, isn’t it? While I understand where Taiwan’s claim of the nine dash line came from (they’re the original one on that suspicious claim when the KMT was still in the mainland), what is spooky is their recent claims to Senkaku and they are hinting on claiming Okinawa too like the mainland.

          I wonder if these recent developments in Taiwan is the real reason why the US won’t sell new F-16s and France as well refused to sell Mirage.

          This one-China policy, although I don’t like it in general, is the one that is saving us from Taiwanese bullying. It is a shield and an “alibi” to not concede to their demands as they want it.

  7. The Mouse says:

    “In terms of comparing combat capability, Taiwan is like a golden retriever, and the Philippines is like a chihuahua. Taiwan has 26 warships and anyone of them could wipe out the whole Philippines.”

    As a dog owner, I’m not sure a golden retriever and a chihuahua is a good comparison esp given the difference in temper. I think given the temper, Taiwan is more of a chihuahua

    Is it not interesting that most bullet holes are in front of the ship? I think this is an indication the Taiwanese “fishing boat” (which appears to be a speedboat to me, just like the PCG vessel) intended to really ram the CG! This is contrary to the Taiwanese claim that they were “chased” should the bullet holes not be at the back??

    Another fun image:

  8. edgar lores says:

    The insights from The Mouse and J shed much light.

    1. We do not know if there was provocation, but there is certainly posturing and arrogance. I find the war-capabilities analogy of golden retriever vs. chihuahua amusing. My impression of golden retrievers are that they are a gentle breed, and my personal experience of chihuahuas is that they are aggressive and bark a lot.

    2. The Luneta incident where Chinese Hong Kong hostages perished may be a factor in Taiwan’s overreaction. My wife has also had personal experience with the racial arrogance of the Chinese. She was parking the car on a side-street beside a shopping center, and suddenly this old Chinese man started waving and angrily shouting at her to move the car because he wanted the spot. Would the old man have shouted if my wife was not Asian? I remember my wife asking me, “Where do the Chinese get this attitude?”

    3. This is from out of left field: Is it possible that Taiwan is a proxy of the mainland in this matter? And in the dispute with Japan? A sort of pincer movement?

    4. This grasping for territory, for riches that are not necessarily yours, is so unseemly — whether it is Chinese or not. At the same time, so human.

    • The Mouse says:

      As a dog owner, I agree. It was a bad analogy. Retrievers are generally tame. Some even joke that they will let a burglar in because they like socializing.

      By size and attitude, I think the Philippines is the Golden Retriever and Taiwan the Chihuahua. LOL

      @3: The Ma regime seemingly has pro-China policies. I think this is the reason of his very low approval rating. And posturing against the Philippines is seen as a way to have it higher. Two, three years ago, the US caught Taiwanese spy and Taiwanese trying to steal US Military technology. The KMT came back to power, I believe, in 2008

      • franz says:

        the taiwanese (chinese) just like the “golden” part of retriever , they think anything with the word gold in it is superior..i wonder if they know what”golden shower” means…

  9. manuelbuencamino says:

    Well you know when a politician’s ratings are at rock bottom an external threat is a gift from God.


    • Joe America says:

      You know, I think this might just turn on Taiwan, internationally. People will recognize that this is a concocted crisis by desperate people. For me, I hope our Mr. President retains his cool and does not “bite” on the provocation from Taiwan.

  10. This is interesting: The incident report leaked to Manila Bulletin:


    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Adrian, please be reminded we, The Filipinos, are fabulists. We are agricultural country that plants evidences plucked out from thin air that still rely on witness accounts instead of forensics and evidences still are in the form of Affidavits.

      Does Philippine Coast Guard have dash cam?

    • Joe America says:

      Absolutely fascinating, Adrian. Thanks for dropping off the link. The Philippines is looking good — calm and mature, and the real victim of the incident — while Taiwan comes off more and more looking like desperate knee jerk manipulators.

      • The Mouse says:

        For a “country” that is better off and with products that has penetrated the international market (Acer, HTC), the behavior is really something that will make one scratch his/her head.
        I wonder how would this be handled had Estrada won. Hahaha

  11. The Mouse says:

    On the other hand, where are the leftists like Bayan Muna, Akbayan, Gabriela, Mayo Uno, Piston, etc condemning this unnecessary and undiplomatic way of handling things??

    Oh wait, they’re on their way to the US Embassy to protest “US violation of Philippine sovereignty”!

  12. The Mouse says:

    Something from da meeja that does not help the situation. I doubt if the NBI agents will really leak something to the media esp amid the uproar


  13. The Mouse says:

    I was wondering if this deliberate escalation by Taiwan can be attributed the the Confucian thought on social hierarchy? That “know your place” mentality. And since the Philippines is not economically on top of Taiwan, Taiwan must think that the Philippines must “obey” what Taiwan says.

    Funny how they don’t like the Philippines One-China policy but not the One-China policy of the US and European countries?

  14. The Mouse says:

    More internet ridiculous next. It reached the WH petition,….

    “Many Taiwanese people were convinced by Philippines that the Obama Administration will connive at this brutal shooting attack. The signal from Philippines is forcing Taiwanese move to the other end of the balance. The situation is severe and may harm the interests of the United States.”


  15. Rein Luna says:

    You really did it huh? Well, my expectations were met. Seeing the quality of comments here is a breath of fresh air – even better recently than those of thediplomat(dot)com.

    The best part – 50cent Party-free!

    Ok, so Taiwan blackmailed:

    – a formal apology
    – compensation for the losses
    – getting to the bottom of the incident and punishing the perpetrators of the killing
    – fishery agreement talks between the Philippines and Taiwan as soon as possible

    Out of these, the fishery agreement talks may be the one that would have given the Philippines a hard time agreeing to because of the One China Policy. China, as we know it, will overreact if the Philippines began such talks, much more sign an agreement. Without a deadline, I’m sure the same things would’ve happened anyway – discrimination, hate campaigns, playing the OFW card. Ma’s 72 hour deadline may have done one good thing as it naturally gave the Philippines a way out of the fishery agreement talks the moment it expired.

    Having a fishery agreement is not a bad idea though – seeing how it calmed the situation between Taiwan and Japan while slapping China in the face. But not now, not like this. If Taiwan wishes to be recognized as a country, it should do so through good diplomacy and not blackmail.

    Now, I wonder how long that investigation’s gonna take?

    • The Mouse says:

      Temporarily, it did. But the Taiwanese are starting to get beyond the agreed area. If we agree to it, then we will see them demanding rights near Tubbataha.

      And with their wamongering statements, i dont think they deserve our generosity.

      • Rein Luna says:

        Taiwan loses this gamble, Ma probably wins it.

        1. The sanctions they made will hurt them more in the long run. Our OFWs are in demand and will work somewhere else in the future, but the hole they’ll leave in Taiwan and the quality of their work will not be easy to replace.

        2. By escalating this mess, it will possibly delay (or hasten, but is the risk worth it?) a fishing agreement with the Philippines which is a good opportunity to detach itself further from China. True enough, we see how the exact opposite happened.

        3. It’s tarnishing its reputation in front of its allies and the International community. Seriously, I wonder how appealing it is for the US to fight for an ally that’s acting just like “the threat”.

        Too bad it’s all on paper. Just like Scarborough, if Taiwan does the same thing China does like you say, the Philippines can’t really do much about it. If things go way out of hand, the US can mediate. Since both countries rely on her, she can call the shots on this one.

        • Joe America says:

          The thing I find disturbing is the same sense of pushy righteousness demonstrated by the Taiwanese that the Chinese display, This idea that the Philippines should open up to Taiwanese investigators because the Taiwanese arrived and said to. Rather than Taiwan respecting Philippine integrity to conduct an investigation. It to me doesn’t reflect political calculation. It reflects a superiority complex that boarders on racism. It is total disrespect of the Philippines. Maybe “disturbing” is the wrong word. “Disgusting” better fits.

          • The Mouse says:

            I find it rather infuriating that Taiwan is demanding the Philippines to recognize it as a sovereign nation yet it does not respect Philippine sovereignty. There are Americans that have been killed by dumb Filipinos in the Philippines, one even a husband of a diplomat, yet the US largely respects Philippine sovereignty. I don’t remember the US trying to dictate of Philippine proceedings, but rather it cooperated with Philippine authorities.

            Now, this should be an interesting question for the Philippine leftist who often complain about the US “violation of Philippine sovereignty”. Where are they now that Taiwan is, in our face, trying to insult our sovereignty by trying to dictate our due process and investigation?

          • Joe America says:

            Yep. Obnoxious Taiwanese. The thought does enter the mind.

    • Joe America says:

      @Rein, I think a fishing agreement would be good. It should contain things like confiscation of boats for violators, and mandated videotaping of incidents by the Coast Guard. The wording would be tricky to cause the least amount of pain for China. But The Mouse makes a good point. How can you trust Taiwan when they don’t respect the Philippines? Taiwan leaders need to apologize for having a really stinko attitude.

  16. Lil says:

    Actually, pamalakaya or fisherfolk supported Taiwan’s position. Isn’t this counterproductive to their interests? Unreal.

    • Joe America says:

      I think that article is mainly an advocacy piece for Taiwan and does not reflect anything but the writer’s bias.

      • The Mouse says:

        Pamalakaya is an NPA political front like Bayan Muna, Kabataan, Piston… yknow those who hate the Philippines and her allies. These Pamalskaya are probably “fishermen” who use dynamites and probably pissed off when the Coast Guard arrests them.

        • Lil says:

          Well I’ve been over the net sneaking a peek at every forums to gauge reactions from Taiwanese. Apparently, their nationalism had been high enough thank’s to Ma’s stoking the tensions that one guy practically admitted that if it wasn’t for Americans in the middle, they’d be using F16s against PH by now ;/
          This region is so young and volatile with every country wanting to strut their stuff in a mad dash for resources. I know you don’t hear this everyday but thanks again Uncle Sam.

          • Joe America says:

            Lil, indeed, we don’t hear that every day. We hear about how we are imperialist warmongers. Thanks for illustrating exactly WHY the US is an imperialist warmonger. Largely because of wild-eyed, off-balance emotionalists like Ma. I like your characterization of Asia. Asia is old, but young in the sense of it being a small, integrated planet, and not experienced at considering that others have legitimate interests, too. Lots of Ego.

          • The Mouse says:

            Based on The Mouse’s observation, the more hardcore “Asian”, you are, the racist and warmongerer you tend to be. Just look at the hardcore “Asianist” left, they’re racist and warmongers.

            Which brings back about 10 years ago. In a lot of Filipino forums, people were bragging about how China is more of a “friend” to the Philippines than the US. How the Chinese never attempted to colonize/invade/conquer the Philippines compared to Euro/American folks(which is false: Look up Limahong the pirate and Koxinga the pirate.– they were just not successful but that is NOT an indication that there were no plans of invasion). Now, who the hell are these people running to esp now that China’s true intentions are showing? Basically their former “conquerors”. The irony, isn’t it? I even read that Spain turned over some historical documents to help the Philippine claim in the Scarborough shoal.

            Ignore the subtle anti-Americanism and sligntly anti-Filipino hand his analysis is bull’s eye:

            It’s all boils down to Han chauvinism. This is why, I think, these Han countries, China and Taiwan, redirect their internal problems to a non-Han country. I didn’t see this in the Sabah crisis which could have easily flared a war between Malaysia and the Philippines but it didn’t. Most political “warmongering” on both sides remained internal. Najib on Anwar, Aquino or Arroyo. LOL

            The Mouse then concludes that European colonialism isn’t all that bad. The former colonial countries in Southeast Asia seem to be better in diplomatic talks and relations compared to their East Asian neighbors who easily jump into warmongering.

            Do you think that if an intruding and Coast Guard ramingTaiwanese boat got shot by a US Coast Guard, they would be warmongering like this?

            But what is interesting is the “fishing” aftermath. I wonder if the Taiwanese poachers will be more scared now especially it seems that they have found their Coast Guard “match”. Maybe, they now know that the Philippine Coast Guard can be deadly.

          • Joe America says:

            I like US laws. If a thief enters my home and I fear for my life, I can shoot him. That’s what is troublesome about the Taiwanese. Unwillingness to consider that the fishermen may have caused the problem. Ask why five times. Who was responsible? Who was responsible? You go right past the Coast guard and land on a Taiwanese ship undertaking hostile acts in Philippine territory.

          • The Mouse says:

            @Joe: True. There seem to be no culture of “self-questioning”, if you know what I mean. The funny thing here is that, as this flare up builds between Taiwan and the Philippines. Japan and Vietnam cited Taiwanese intruding their waters! Japan seized them, Vietnam just shooed them away…and you know what was reported in Vietnam waters? “They were harassed by Vietnam ships”? Why oh why can’t they see the pattern of Taiwanese fishermen intruding?

            Sometimes, I suspect that these intrusions are encouraged by the Taiwanese government itself. Darn, even the waters of Vietnam. Maybe, next time they would say it is “disputed waters” too and they will demand Vietnam fishing rights.

            Crap, that is not how you ask for fishing rights – intrude a neighbor and create a hostile environment. Why can’t they ask NICELY?

  17. Lil says:

    Well, from what I’ve read China didn’t get that big by being all peaceful. lol.
    I think it’s also beause they’re stuck in their old world mentality.
    One of the ridiculous arguments by leftists and even Chicoms is that the Aguinaldo’s dream of a Independent Philippines right after the Span-Am war would have been realised if not for the US. Lol. There were German, French and even British ships idling in Manila Bay watching the Span-Am showdown. Also the Japanese were already testing their footing by colonising, uhm, Formosa. JoeAm’s forefathers just happened to be decisively quicker. Lol.

    • The Mouse says:

      No they didn’t. Did you know that the original inhabitants of Southern China are non-Hans? They’re more related to people in mainland Southeast Asia. Study Chinese history and it is just like anything of that time – wars, conquest, subjugation of non-Hans.

      • Lil says:

        I know what you’re saying. I’ve just read that somewhere that the Japanese were in Formosa. Can’t find the links. But I’ll try to google them so we can compare notes.

    • The Mouse says:

      Sometimes, I think that if Spain or America did not leave, we would not be bullied like this. Yknow, our Asian neighbors (secretly) look up to white people, probably more than we do, I think. They just won’t admit it. LOL.

      • Lil says:

        Yes they do. Actually they are just jealous. Have you noticed that the most nationalist statements from the Chinese, etc even Middle Easterns are a variety of “why does everyone run to American” or “American are not kings” It made me lol everytime.

        • The Mouse says:

          They secretly wish they were in the white man’s place. LOL

          It would be nice if the world map actually looked like this:

        • The Mouse says:

          Gotta laugh at some angry “Anonymous” comments here:


          How come no mention that a lot of kidnapping syndicates are run by Chinese and Taiwanese triads. Most meth labs in the Philippines are run by Taiwanese and Chinese

          The Mouse thinks that these people are jealous of us because the Philippines is culturally “flexible”

          • Joe America says:

            And the Philippines is on the way up whilst Taiwan is being run into the ground by knee jerk leaders whose incompetence is evident by the way they mishandle delicate international events.

          • The Mouse says:

            I found out that this is actually’s Ma’s second term. I wonder why they voted for him esp that he seems favoring the mainland. Now I figured that voting for loonies is not exclusively a Philippine trait.

            I wasn’t enthusiastic at Aquino at first. It seems to me that he won because his mother died. His first diplomatic relations wasn’t impressive. Boycotted the Nobel Peace Prize, the handling of the Luneta hostage incident.

            But where he picked up himself was during the Scarborough stand off. I don’t think that any country that is obviously military weak would not last about a month. The Philippines pulled out, from what I understand, under the interpretation that China will to based on a mutual agreement. Unfortunately, they didn’t.

            Then came the Sabah crisis. I think he handled it well…except for the “Arroyo conspiracy”. LOL. But overall, I believe it was handled well. Not easily giving Kiram to the Malaysians yet not supporting the intrusion into Malaysia.

            Now this. He’s probably laughing his ass off at Ma with his One-China policy.

  18. The Mouse says:

    I’ve been reading comments by Taiwanese and can’t help but laugh at the statements about the Coast Guard “kidnapping” them and taking “ransom”.

    The Mouse thinks they cannot distinguish detention and penalty fees from kidnap and ransom. I think they got an overdose with Hong Kong action movies. LOL

  19. The Mouse says:

    Hey Joe!(Pun intended)

    I found this photo from a forum. I apparently came from the Taiwanese government site.

    It makes me chuckle that amid the Taiwan warmongering, their own evidence seem to confirm the Philippine Coast Guard claims. What did the PCG say about them aiming for the engine??

    Here is the image:

    Taken from this page:

    Not sure if you’d be able to access it in the Philippines as some posters in the Philippines say they can’t access the page but I can perfectly access it here in the US.

    • Joe America says:

      The diagram opened. Quite interesting. But the pdf file says “not found by google chrome”. I’ll leave the link in in the event others can open it. I must say, the Coast Guard did a lot of shooting, most indeed at the engine. I hope there is videotape, and it illustrates the threat that called for the shooting.

      • The Mouse says:

        How odd. Could it be that they deliberately deny access to Philippine IPs? I clicked the link and it’s perfectly normal here in the US.

        Got this in a forum. Maybe, you can download the file here: http://rapidshare.com/files/3024962218/Taiwan.pdf

        It’s just a bigger version on pdf.

      • The Mouse says:

        I am quite amazed on how they managed to shoot most at the engine area given that, I assume two boats are moving.

        If the PCG intended to murder the Taiwanese as the TW media claims, they would all have been dead.

        • franz says:

          My thoughts exactly..they had one .30 browning , 8 m-16’s and m-14’s plus an m-204 grenade launcher ..if the PCG wanted to sink/kill all occupants in the boat it would have been easy,

  20. The Mouse says:

    Saw this on facebook. I’m sure this will piss of the Taiwanese. Hahaha

  21. JM says:

    Wow. All the points that I would have said have already been said. I really like this site. =)

  22. Martial Bonifacio says:

    Joe you can probably use this link that shows a more accurate latitude and longitude.

  23. The Mouse says:

    I finally found a report on this:

    Seems that Taiwanese and Chinese “fishermen” are very dangerous…

    • Joe America says:

      The term fishermen dignifies the occupation of poaching like privateering dignifies the occupation of piracy. It becomes cops and robbers and the robbers have the advantage of easy escape over the fence (international boundaries). So they are not willing to be easily apprehended.

    • The Mouse says:

      Damn, they are all over!

      • Lil says:

        well, I hate being a an alarmist or just a theorist especially on JoeAms blog. But the Chicoms have repeatedly said that they will never align w/any country or bloc as in this example of a news
        so what are theyto trying build a modern blue-water navy for? chase measly pirates with it?

        • Joe America says:

          You are welcome to be alarmist because I have been alarmed for some time at the isolation China holds as being superior to her neighbors. It appears that Taiwan holds the same view, there is only one perspective that counts, and that is the Chinese one. The only hope is that economic self-interest will eventually wear down this reluctance to see that other nations hold legitimate views. The U.S. will fall to second place economically in a few years, a simple discrepancy in size, and will hold substantial military superiority for 20 to 50 years. Within that time frame, let’s hope China joins the world of peaceful partners in prosperity.

  24. The Mouse says:

    Looks like karma is catching up. A few days ago, an F-16 crashed. Now, it’s a Mirage.

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