The Taiwan Tango

Tango-607x452It takes two to tango and Taiwan is finding the Philippines won’t dance.

Well, that’s wrong, as of yesterday. The Philippines has agreed to a version of the Texas Two-Step, which involves shuffling about the floor in unison whilst not embracing. The investigative bodies of the two nations will conduct parallel investigations, but not a joint inquiry. This preserves the sovereignty of both.

Justice Secretary de Lima has urged Philippine journalists not to inflame passions, I suppose because Taiwan appears ready to go over the edge that separates sanity from insanity, rational from irrational, peace from war. I am no journalist, so I could beg to be excused, but I actually intend here to be absolutely neutral and positive and fair and balanced and may even say some kind words.

This is my succinct update on the situation in Edgar Lores fashion, enumerated until the cows come home. Let me start with some general observations:

  1. The death of the Taiwanese fisherman is tragic.
  2. Taiwan is diplomatically in poor form to question the sincerity of the Philippine Head of State. We may be seeing a retreat from that blunder going forward.
  3. The Philippine Coast Guard was not attacking Taiwan, they were attacking whom they believed to be aggressive poachers.
  4. Taiwan fishermen have a track record of aggressiveness in the seas.
  5. Philippine law enforcement agencies have a reputation of being bribe-takers and gunslingers.
  6. A rumored video-tape of the incident has not been released.
  7. The incident took place in waters that any rational observer would say belong to the Philippines, given that a significant, occupied Philippine island (Batanes) lies between the incident and Taiwan.
  8. The Coast Guard ship fired a lot of bullets, a few hitting the cabin (to ward off attack?) but most directed at the engines (to try to disable the boat?).
  9. If killing had been the aim, there would have been more deaths.
  10. Taiwan appears to take the Big China approach, that “territory is ours because we say it is ours”, and anyone who disagrees is insulting us.
  11. The Philippines appears to take the approach of wanting authoritative international bodies (the UN and international court) to use a reasoned and fair approach to define where Philippine economic territory lies. UNCLOS is the guiding document most nations go by.
  12. Unfortunately, although the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone standard is clear, UNCLOS begs off from defining what happens if there are disagreements, just saying it should be resolved according to vague international legal guidelines. It seems to my simple mind that, when nations are close to one another, you divide the distance between them and draw a line in the middle. Taiwan would not agree that this is reasonable, because it does not satisfy Taiwan’s interest. The Philippines would agree with the approach.
  13. The Philippines is economically on the way up, and her President is calm. Taiwan is in the economic doldrums and her leaders have been posturing like holy roller preachers with chopsticks and the will of the Lord emanating from their lips. Humility has been absent.
  14. The Philippines will make an honest finding and there is now hope that Taiwan also will at least consider the evidence before screaming “murder” again.

Here is what the findings will say. Now you may wonder if JoeAm has a secret contact within the Aquino administration. You know, a mole, a spy, a sister . . . and the answer is a decided “no”. He has an ex-wife who is a psychic and can read these things, along with palms, minds and tea leaves. Also, Joe is pretty good with darts, having had much practice at an Irish pub and restaurant in Santa Monica, California, where, after scarfing down a plateful of bangers and mash with a double-up on the gravy, he would rule the dartboard until he was too drunk to fly them right.

But I digress.

Joe and his ex read the signs and believe the Philippines will find that:

  1. The incident was within Philippine territorial waters.
  2. The Taiwanese fishing boat instigated the confrontation and failed to obey lawful instructions.
  3. The death was accidental.
  4. The Coast Guard used excessive force in trying to stop the fishing boat.
  5. The Philippines will discipline the Coast Guard captain and crew.
  6. The Philippines will make payment to the dead fisherman’s family.
  7. The Philippines will (again) express regret for the fisherman’s death but will not apologize for events that could have been avoided had the Taiwanese fishermen obeyed the lawful commands of the Coast Guard crew.
  8. The Philippines will urge calm and respect, one nation to another.
  9. The Philippines will be willing to enter into discussions with Taiwan that formulate ways to avoid further confrontations.

My ex, who has a doctorate in “criticism” from the University of Southern California, doesn’t mind wielding her criticisms here. She suggests, none too subtly, that the Taiwanese are suffering from delusions of grandeur and total denial as to the benefits of showing respect to others. Possibly being a runaway orphan nation fosters these character flaws. My ex is from Singapore; her father was a communist and her mother was a part of Lee Kuan Yew’s inner circle of ministers. She understands Asia from the left and the right, the inside and the outside.

Here’s what she and Joe say Taiwan’s investigation will discover:

  1. The incident was within waters claimed by Taiwan for fishing rights.
  2. The Philippine Coast Guard was wrong to try to impose its will on the fishing boat.
  3. The death was grossly negligent, whether accidental or intentional.
  4. The Coast Guard used outrageously excessive force in trying to stop the fishing boat.
  5. The Philippines must hold the captain and crew accountable for murder.
  6. The Philippines must make payment to the dead fisherman’s family.
  7. The Philippines must apologize State to State for events that could have been avoided had the Philippine Coast Guard not been needlessly aggressive.
  8. Taiwan will moderate her criticism of Philippine due process, and will express a desire to see relations between the two nations return to a mutually beneficial norm.
  9. Taiwan will express a willingness to enter into discussions with the Philippines that formulate ways to avoid further confrontations in the future.
  10. Taiwan will end sanctions of the Philippines in the interest of harmony going forward.

Frankly, Tawian’s leaders are in a box. They cannot be seen as failing to back the important Taiwanese fishing industry. It would be political suicide for a tag team that is on the ropes now. But Taiwan must also back off from the unseemly confrontation and abuse of a good commercial partner, and a close ally of the United States.

So after considerable bluster, Taiwan will allow the matter to rest with the Philippines. Indeed, the Philippine findings are the more operative of the two, because it is with the Philippines that judgment of the crew’s behavior properly rests. The Philippines, too, is in a box. If the Philippines excuses the aggressive shooting, she furthers the idea that she remains an out of control, corrupt, lawless state. But if the Philippines is harsh with the boat crew, other poaching expeditions are likely to openly flaunt the Philippine Coast Guard.

The punishment of the crew, if any, is likely to be mild.

And my promised kind words, well earned:

  • “President Aquino has demonstrated why the Philippines is a different and rising nation under his stewardship. He is calm, confident and thorough, preferring to have good information at hand before making decisions. He is diplomatically courteous even when others are not. He adheres to the idea that laws make good guideposts, and breaking them does not. Furthermore, he has demonstrated that he will not be intimidated or ordered about by churches, political malcontents, venomous bloggers with an agenda, sultans without portfolio, or bullies with a superiority complex.”
Comments
77 Responses to “The Taiwan Tango”
  1. The Mouse says:

    I think Taiwan’s biggest mistake is automatically jumping into warmongering and the way I see it, their process has been in this order: conclusion, investigation, fit the investigation evidences to the conclusion and tweak it as necessary.

    Proof? They have this in their EMBASSY site without the investigation finished yet.

    This is why I am wary of Taiwan investigations. I am expecting them to indict the PCG for “intentional murder”. They’re already been fixated with their conclusion even before investigation. Now that leaves them little space for “maneuver” should evidences prove them wrong

    http://www.taiwanembassy.org/ct.asp?xItem=380867&ctNode=7992&mp=512

    Now, the biggest dilemma is if the Taiwanese were proven wrong in all their accusations. It’s a big saving face dilemma. I think Taiwan is more in a dilemma with this than the Philippines admitting error in judgement by the PCG.

    On a side note: I found this through another blog. Last year in Palau, their Coast Guard shot and killed a Chinese poacher yet it didn’t seem to create the big fuss

    http://www.oceaniatv.net/2012/04/18/chinese-fishermen-to-be-released-on-wednesday/

    Also, this blog notes that he cannot find anything in UNCLOS that prohibits use of force against “unarmed vehicles”

    http://foreignerinformosa.typepad.com/the_foreigner_in_formosa/2013/05/re-use-of-force-against-unarmed-vessels.html

    The Taiwanese and Chinese seem to have the attitude and arrogance of trying to ram Coast Guards

    The question now for maritime states/countries is, how do you deal with aggressive poachers that turn their “fishing boats” into a deadly weapon?

  2. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Who do these Taiwanese think they are? Chinese? How dare they. Taiwanese wanted parallel investigation and joint inquiry on Taiwanese Fishermen massacre.

    When the Chinese tourists were massacred inside the bus due to clumsy incompetent ignoramuses SWAT Espesyal run and trained by PMAyer (PMA is ivy-school of military men) the Philippines government tried desperately to preserve their sovereignty by allowing the Chinese to blow into town and do their own forensics. They even dictated benign0 to show to Chinese, before releasing to the public, the Filipino forensic “experts” findings and have the freedom and liberty to tweak its science, grammar, spellings and all before it is released to the Filipino Philippine media who are graduates from Philippine “ivy-schools”.

    The Philippine Government should not allow the Taiwanese to transgress and trample the Philippine pride, nationalism and patriotism of Filipinos over the deportation of OFWs back to the Philippines.

    Of course, Philippine Government can allow Chinese to hang U.P.-graduate drug couriers without firing a shot.

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. I believe that Taiwan is changing its dance steps as the Philippines gives it space. This is apparent in the nuances of the diplomatic jargon.

    2. I see that Joe the blogger has been very fortunate in marrying high-caliber change agents. The crystal ball glows.

    3. …I am so lost in admiration and envy that I forgot what more to say!

    • Joe America says:

      1. Yes, there is a glimmer of rational behavior coming from up north.
      2. Alas, changing creates a horrid clashing, grinding noise, much akin to missing the shift on the gearbox of the ancient coconut trucks that prowl the roads of Mindanao, and so we have an “ex” resolution to relieve the noise. I shall refrain from elaboration in the interest of human kindness.
      3. Yeah, right. You probably have more bush to whack or fence to mend or skotch to guzzle . . .

    • The Mouse says:

      I feel that they just need another hot topic to feast on and they will forget about it.

      Remember that in 2006, a Taiwanese poacher in Batanes was also killed…not sure if it was Navy or PNP. Details are very sketchy but nothing as noisy as this because Ma was not yet elected that time

    • The Mouse says:

      Now, I suddenly remember what an old friend of mine told me when she was working in Taipei. She said that the Taiwanese are silly for having chosen a “good-looking” guy for a president over the opponent who was pro-independence.

    • cha says:

      @ Edgar,

      I have a short note for you in the previous thread (What is your goal) re your comment about dependence on change agents.

  4. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Poor Philippine Navy, they come home from months at sea to protect the Philippines from poachers and leeches yet nary coverage from U.P.-run Philippine Media. Not seen in the Ateneo-run Philippine Media are children run-crying to their Dada happy to be home and safe in one piece. Have not seen Philippine soldiers coming home to their nipa hut after a stint in Mindanao wives eagerly awaiting. No scripted drama Dada showing in school to surprise their children. Nothing like that. Philippine Media is not patriotic. Not nationalistic. They are not promoting these. What the U.P.-run Philippine Media is all about MONEY!!!!! Fake Philippine Independence Day on June 12 is just next page in my calendar as usual just I get sloppy watered-down coverage of Philippine Military’s heroism if ever they cover them at all.

    In America, July 4th is big deal. Military parades. Flag fluttering in every houses. American media’s reminiscing of military past and present. NOTHING LIKE THAT IN THE PHILIPPINES.

    CHANGE THE PHILIPPINE MEDIA and PHILIPPINES and FILIPINOS CHANGE ALONG WITH IT.

    • Joe America says:

      That is true. I think it is because the Philippine military operates more like cops, policing the domestic scene rather than being off fighting the foreign warriors. So they miss the sheen of glory that attaches to saving us. Instead, they seem to be busy harassing us. Very very interesting point.

      • The Mouse says:

        Yknow what, I feel bad for the AFP. Not only are they acting like police but also acting like DSWD, DOTC, DPWH, Red Cross…. Sooner enough, they’ll be playing the role of the DepEd

    • Attila says:

      The independence day in New York is celebrated by Filipino Americans. In my experience most of them believe that the Philippines would have been better off if it stayed as a commonwealth state of the USA. Then what are you celebrating or happy about? They just like to parade and be proud? Even if it is contradicting their personal believes?

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        We Filipinos are confused people. We wanted independence. We are proud of our country, culture and no-fear artery-clogging coronary cuisine. Any American with a drop of Filipino blood are called FILIPINOS not Americans. We do not take nicely the comments of Alec Baldwin mail-order-bride, Malu Fernandez cheap-perfume, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines prostitute-tourism and Desperate Housewife so-so Philippine Medical school. ALL OF THEM APOLOGIZED to the Philippine government and to the Filipino people for racist remarks.

        We ejected the Americans from the bases and at the same time wanted to be part of American Government problem as commonwealth. How can we partake the wealth of America when gallant brave Filipino soldiers abroad withdraws from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, etcetera after a hint of bodily harm. OFWs are braver, they stay put regardless.

        • Attila says:

          The not so gallant and brave Filipino allies would also expect the USA to fight and die for the Philippines if it is attacked let’s say by Taiwan or China. So what is the thinking of the Filipino? My wife gave me the answer: It is much better if the American dies than a Filipino.

          • Joe America says:

            That would suggest a change in attitude from WW II when Philippine rebels fought the well-armed Japanese with machetes. And it was generally the attitude of the American generals at the time that we don’t care so much who dies as long as it is not an American (the battle for Manila). I personally think that, in a combat situation, Filipinos would fight just like they labor. Hard. But if you ask who should face off against China, me the Filipino with my (still) machete, or the US with its satellites and drones and big ass boats and bombs, that is easy. Let the Americans do it. Or give me the war machines, and I’ll do it. It is a matter of logic, not courage.

      • The Mouse says:

        Attila,
        Filipinos love rituals. That June 12 is just a ritual. I bet with all the crazy stuff going on lately, a lot of Filipinos secretly wish they were in “Papa Sugar’s” arms 😀

  5. Martial Bonifacio says:

    After the agreement between Japan-Taiwan:
    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2013/05/15/2003562341

    And today did not even suprised me that it will happen again.
    http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=2226213

    i hope Pnoy will rethink his decision regarding the “fisheries agreement”.
    http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/309346/news/nation/phl-open-to-fisheries-pact-after-resolving-diplomatic-row-with-taiwan

    A good example is the most recent one between Taiwan and Japan. Notice before it was only in Senkaku island, after the pact they moved closer to other Japanese islands.

    It will also be unfair for our local fishermen because their boat can withstand larger waves and can travel farther at sea. Even their fishing techniques are different so the quantity will be surely different. Kung ngayon pa nga lang hirap na ang mga kababayan natin tulad sa mga mangingisda sa masinloc zambales na ka kumpetensya ang mga intsik at navy nila, ano pa kaya pag ginawa ng legal yan ng ating mga pinuno at mambabatas.

    Parang mining din lang yan na mahirap na ma-regulate at mapatupad. Hindi sa paninira pero ang katotohanan is mangilan ngilan palang ang coast guard boats ng Pilipinas na kayang magpatupad ng ating batas sa karagatan.

    Hindi kayang bantayan ni Del Pilar at ang parating na si Alcaraz ang buong bansa. I suggest a better alternative that the government make a shipyard controlled by GOCC shipbuilding for a our local fisherman, navy, coast guard.

    Isang kumpanya that will build ships for our fishermen so they can compete equally with our neighbors at para na rin sa ating mga navy at coast guard. Ang maganda pa dito is that ang pera ay hindi lalabas ng bansa since ang mga trabahador ay Pinoy.

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting reports. I’m not sure why the objection to an agreement. The problem now is that Taiwan approves their vessels operating within waters that ought to be the sole province of the Philippines. An agreement at least draws a hard line so that there are no issues of it being both nations’ territory. The contentious issue is where to draw the line, and I think that will be difficult with Taiwan. She appears to be another bully nation who will not accept reason.

      • Martial Bonifacio says:

        I think the so called “show of force” only lasted about 1-2 days of exercise then both navy and cg of Taiwan went back to home port.

        Just for laughs sake in fox news:
        “Our Mirage fighters are heavily armed with missiles. Our naval crews are maneuvering on the very doorstep of the Philippines.”

        http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/05/16/taiwan-military-holds-large-scale-drills-amid-maritime-dispute-with-philippines/

        ETTV news forgot to write the innovation they showed during the drill that even transformers cant compete with. Turning a plane into a boat then a submarine.

        • Joe America says:

          I’m wondering if they feel a little foolish, having ranted and blustered and postured and had it met with a dignified silence, or rational talk. Maybe now they will feel the need to behave in a more dignified and diplomatic way. I hope so. The situation needs respectful give and take, not posturing.

          • Martial Bonifacio says:

            Regarding my objection to the fisheries agreement. Its because of the difference between the capabilities and manner of the 2 countries fishermen.

            1. Contrast in capabilities:
            Taiwan’s fishing vessel and technique is a lot more advance than their counter part in Philippines which already gives them a great advantage in terms of “quantity in catch”.

            Additionally they catch things that are considered endangered and protected under Philippine laws like turtles and sharks which often times they disregard.

            Also i don’t feel that it is right that we will legalize something that will put our Pinoy fishermen in a bigger disadvantage than it is now. With the current inventory of the PCG it will be hard for them to enforce any agreements due to the lack of ships.

            2. Manner:
            The animosity and hatred being pushed and published in Taiwan’s media even contradicts logic and rationality, that they only see themselves as the one being oppressed by the Philippines. Taiwanese legislators would even go as far as making a bill that will allow fishing companies to hire armed guards.

            http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2013/05/21/2003562800

            If they (Taiwan or China) are already acting in a irrational way even without any fisheries agreement, i don’t even wanna know what they can do once a agreement is signed.

          • Joe America says:

            Yes, I understand your objection on the account of: (1) irrational behavior, (2) disrespect of other nations, and (3) disregard for international conventions on endangered species. There is an expression in America that “Good fences make good neighbors”, and I’d say that applies here. If you draw a hard and fast line, then have severe punishments (confiscation of boat plus jail time), it would at least help to hold their destructive tendencies to Taiwan waters. That said, I doubt that an agreement will ever see the light of day because of their irrational tendencies. The likely path will be: international confirmation of Philippine territory, then enforcement of that territory by the Philippines. For any nation shooting back at the Philippines, call up the U.S. defense treaty, which protects Philippine ships as if they were Philippine land.

          • The Mouse says:

            with how Taiwan behaved itself in this incident makes one think how arrogant can they be more if they were fully sovereign. That one-China policy is a saving grace in this incident

        • The Mouse says:

          well with a mirage and f-16 down in ONE week, they must hella be embarrassed

  6. chonoon says:

    Korney

  7. chonoon says:

    And this blog has a mouse !

    • Joe America says:

      This blog site is like my house, and you are welcome to stop by and visit. You can contribute objections and complaint or even agreement or a good joke, and will be respected for your view point. But I don’t really care for visitors who dump trash in the living room, in disrespect of the courtesy I offer, of an open, unmoderated site.

    • The Mouse says:

      I apologize you have poor comprehension and inability to accept that your government is coveting others’ territory and acting irrational just like your big brother China

  8. Martial Bonifacio says:

    Taiwan released its partial account and evidence:
    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/05/21/13/taiwan-findings-support-ph-coast-guard-account-documents

    But naturally in Taiwan’s media they own even the balintang channel.
    http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=2226394

    I wonder if Taiwan will be allowed by its claim then will it mean that UNCLOS is just a useless law that was signed by international countries, even for a country that signed it. Its funny because now they are using even America as an excuse for their fishermen stating/spamming that “look at america they did not even sign UNCLOS but they can travel every sea in the world.”

    I guess Taiwan firmly believe’s that with their capabilities, they are already in lines with countries called “world powers”.

  9. Rein Luna says:

    I’m watching the news tonight.
    It was mentioned that what’s left in the investigation is Taiwan/China’s approval to investigate the poacher’s boat. Also, when asked about the PCG video, DOJ’s de Lima said, “It was very revealing.” – while all smiles.

    Kinda exciting for me.

    • The Mouse says:

      You know what, if you will take the Taiwanese evidences, it actually SUPPORTS the PCG claim.

      1 – The Taiwan coast guard coordinates. It was noted that the boat and the incident happened OUTSIDE Taiwan border control

      2 – The PCG claims they shot to disable the engine. Well, the Taiwan “autopsy” of the boat shows that most shot were in the engine area

      I am starting to suspect that one reason why they are acting this way is to cover up for the fault of their fishermen.

      • Rein Luna says:

        Yes I saw your bullet hole map, you know what it’s the same thing they showed on tv. And yes, it was concentrated at the back, I suppose that’s where the engine’s at.

        I can imagine Mrs. Joeam’s scenario where the two countries will have different investigation results if the truth works in favor of the PCG. Because how else can they save face after all that noise they made?

        Meanwhile China goes to the next target after Panatag/Scarborough – Ayungin Shoal. Oh, I’m feeling racist. Gotta remind myself again that it’s their government’s actions and not their people’s.

        • The Mouse says:

          What I suspect is, the investigation will be objective, however, the interpretation will not. As I mentioned earlier, I am seeing the Taiwanese fitting the evidences into their pre-investigation conclusion…even if it does not fit. The Taiwanese government needs to grow some logic here

  10. The Mouse says:

    Joe, this is one of the reason why I oppose to fisheries agreement with Taiwan:

    Some of their “scholars” want to claim Batanes and they might one day actually push for it!

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2004/09/23/2003204030

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2007/12/23/2003393815

    (note that this is the same idiot who said that the Philippines is NOT an archepilagic nation)

    I don’t think there was a misunderstanding. Even the US practiced jurisdiction in Batanes when they took possession of the Philippines

    And one on this site said there had been a FISHING LANE AGREEMENT between Taiwan and the Philippines in 1993.

    “The latest diplomatic development in support of the defined treaty limit that I know was the 1993 negotiation for fishing sea lanes between Taiwan and the Philippines . I was a member of the Philippine panel, and there was no question on where the territorial limit ended. ”

    Source: http://www.geocities.com/dapat_tapatt/batanes.html

    I find Taiwan eerie. When Japan gave in to fisheries agreement with Taiwan, Taiwan started to claim the Senkakus, too like her big brother China.

    I have no problem with fishing agreements in general. I have problem with Taiwan, though. I’m starting to see them as wolf in sheep’s clothing. I would definitely agree if Japanese fishermen want to fish near the Benham rise.

  11. Martial Bonifacio says:

    1. Honestly i feel so bad how Taiwanese emotions are being used by their media, agood example is this news article:

    http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=2226518

    Notice the title of the article, it states “U.S. calls for early release of Philippines shooting report” but in the body of the report they never read the actual message of the US state department stating this lines:

    “We’ve yet to see the final reports from either of the investigations from either side,” said Deputy State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell.

    Most of the Taiwanese due to rage of emotions forgot the meaning of “either side”. I dont understand what will Taiwan get trying to fool its citizens, telling false story that US already took their side regarding this incident. I hope they notice that their media is acting like the propaganda mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China like the Xinhua news agency.

    I’m glad that US is not taking sides between its two allies since both of them are democratic country as well. Though i doubt President Ma will stop on milking this issues since he really needs now that the opposition is trying to

    2. If Pnoy is a sly president he should have rebutted the claims of Taiwan regarding 200 EEZ. If Taiwan is only allowed 200 nautical miles due to EEZ, why are they claiming beyond that like the ones in spratly island?

    If we are gonna follow their rules and claims strickly, it will be evident that they cant have both: Either choose the balintang channel or the spratly islands.

    Imagine Pnoy tricking taiwan on accepting the challenge it issued to China in ITLOS, since both taiwan and china have the same evidence regarding the “9 dash theory.”

    • The Mouse says:

      I think they are butt hurt that the US lauded the Philippines for its commitment to investigation. Never heard the US laud the Taiwanese government for its actions.

      There are rumors though that the US warned Taiwan cancellation of military aid and sales should they escalate things further. Maybe this is the reason why they seem to have at least calmed down (but not still growing some logical brains)?

      But then, I can’t help but laugh at the “show of force” which turned out to be a show of “how bad their F-16s and Mirage are maintained”.

  12. The Mouse says:

    Here is the fisherman version of events:

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-05-20/taiwan-fishing-crew-hid-to-escape-hail-of-philippine-bullets#p1

    I think I can see where the “confusion” of the fishermen are coming from. It seems that Taiwan seemingly “unofficially claims” Batanes as part of their maritime jurisdiction?

    Around 10 a.m. on that day, his fishing boat suddenly sped up from 3.3 knots to 12 knots, near coordinates southeast of the Batanes Islands between Taiwan and the Philippines, according to investigation findings announced by Taiwan’s justice ministry.

    They think Southeast of Batanes is “between the Philippines and Taiwan”? (This is how many of their images show things)

    • Martial Bonifacio says:

      It seems in their sory we have a gung ho type of coast guards who just fires its gun without any logical reason. Another good question that should be asked is why did they ran?

      If our coastguard can treat the Chinese fishermen from mainland decently, both the one caught with pangolins in tubbataha and the one in scarborough shoal i highly doubt that our coastgyard will act diffrently towards the taiwanese fishermen.

      As was shown by the NBI when they are checking the inventories of the guns used by the BFAR-CG during the incident. You will notice that a grenade launcher was present and if the intent was really to kill, as claimed by the taiwanese fishermen it will be very easy.

      I hope taiwanese will be logical and sober and think of trying to answer this questions.

      • The Mouse says:

        Yea, they could have just thrown the grenade and make an artificial reef out of the boat. Why bother sweating trying to shoot the engine of a moving boat from a moving boat?

        Kudos to the PCG. Based on Taiwanese findings, most bullets landed in the engine area.

        Yes, and why run upon approachment of authorities? They knew they were in our waters!

  13. Joe America says:

    The following article on Forbes presents an interesting perspective on the Taiwanese tantrum, which was aimed at extracting an apology and raise Taiwan’s evaluation of that leadership in the eyes of her citizens:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphjennings/2013/05/21/why-taiwan-wont-let-the-philippines-off-easy/

    Essentially, the ploy failed and the Philippines took control of the dialogue with their silence. The article also explains that the Taiwanese actions are politically motivated. So, indeed, the facts of the case are likely to be manipulated to defend the fishing boat, and Taiwanese rights to the seas around Batanes.

    • The Mouse says:

      Interesting find. The first time I heard about this is that it seems easy to sense this is politically motivated. As mentioned previously, the same shooting of Taiwanese fishermen happened in 2006 yet no uproar, though details are sketchy. And this shooting is more of the exception than the norm.

      In short, they found an incident they can use to bully the Philippines

      But unfortunately for Taiwan, the Philippines has a cool-headed administration. They can bash him for the Luneta incident but with even Taiwanese evidences agreeing with the PCG statements, I wonder now how Taiwan will save face? They should have accepted the apology to the family. I believe the Aquino administration gave them a way to save face. But, idiotically, they decided to try to humiliate the Philippines and with evidences coming out supporting the PCG claims, I really wonder how will the Ma make it out “unscathed”?

      And what is funny about the Taiwanese is that forensic evidence even from Taiwan supports Philippine version of events (they insist, though, on illogical interpretation). If only the Taiwanese audience will grow brains independent of their politicians’ and media’s “opinion” they will see that their boat is sinking We already threw them the lifeguard vests yet they refused to save themselves.

      • Joe America says:

        I’ve read a few comments from Taiwanese critical of their Government’s brash speaking, believing it is hurting them in the international community. My own “bias” of Taiwanese has been that they are a bright and hardworking community, law abiding and productive. The aggressive fishing incidents were eye-opening, and the government’s wild-eyed rage was astounding. Given the emotionalism of government spokespeople, and the sensationalism of media, it is easy to comprehend why the initial reaction from the people would be a flare-up. So I find it interesting: will the people broadly sober up when looking at evidence un-manipulated by their leadership? Or will they accept further manipulations? Or will they turn on Ma’s government, with this embarrassing of Taiwan as the final straw? I’m going to sit back and watch for awhile.

        • The Mouse says:

          That is yet to see when the investigation is done. I hope the Taiwanese people will be able to see through Ma’s agenda.That might be the case especially that evidences are going against Ma’s administration claims.

          But I am expecting their politicians and media to cry that the evidence are “doctored”. They even posted the “intention to murder” in a Taiwanese embassy site. Could not be more ridiculous.

          And I hope I am wrong with this but I am under the impression that their government could be subtly convincing their fishermen to “intrude” other countries’ maritime territories. Well, not exactly telling them to intrude but telling them that the seas beyond what Taiwan is entitled to “Taiwan territory”. You see, a lot of fishermen claims say that when they are arrested and fined by the PCG or BFAR, they interpret it as “kidnap and ransom”?

          • Martial Bonifacio says:

            The predicament of the opposition party (DPP) is that the fishermen who died came from the southern part of taiwan, which gave them support after the election. That is why they cant veered from a different approach like criticizing ma and just ended up in a “supporting” approach towards Ma’s administration. Even though if evidence might suggest after the investigation is completed that the Philippines is right they cant just criticize President Ma from the KMT party.

            Since as of now they still are considered the minority and KMT as the majority. Any signs of agreeing with Philippines evidence will mean less seat in public office.

          • The Mouse says:

            @Martial: That sucks. It seems Taiwanese officials, opposition or ruling party…got themselves trapped in their own mouse trap.

            Who is Tom and who is Jerry? LOL

          • Joe America says:

            @Martial. Fascinating bit of perspective into Taiwanese politics. And the power of the fishing community.

          • The Mouse says:

            If the DPP was in power instead, it would have not mattered esp that their base seems to be Southern Taiwan. Maybe, there’d be more tantrum throwing?

  14. The Mouse says:

    I have been sensing some anti-US sentiments among the Brits and the impression I am getting here it that it seems it is translating to anti-Philippines, too?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/19/south-china-sea-dispute-taiwan

    But then, let’s see who’ll get the last laugh here. Looks like Undersecretary de Lima. LOL

    • The Mouse says:

      Just occurred to me that the bow of the boat is too sharp? Maybe it is intended for ramming; hence the confidence is trying to ram CG ships…erm.. boats actually?

    • Joe America says:

      I that is reading too much into the article. The Brits respect America, and are neither envious nor critical. Americans hold the Brits in high regard, as well. I think the article-writer has a wrong interpretation when he writes: “Taiwan is winning for itself greater regional influence . . .”. He made this read-out prematurely. I’m confident that Taiwan is not winning influence among any other Asian nation, other than China. And is not winning influence in America.

  15. Martial Bonifacio says:

    I dont believe this news is a coincidence:
    http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=2227097

    This rumors also happened last month when Japan, Taiwan and China are fighting over direct control over senkaku island. Japan seeing that it will be in a more disadvantage spot if Taiwan and China made a secret alliance.

    It immediately struck a deal with Taiwan albeit that the Taiwanese coast guard will expel Chinese mainland fishermen.

    Link:http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/04/03/national/taiwan-seeks-to-fish-off-senkakus-not-pick-sides/#.UZxYoYdUcjE

    Is China & Taiwan now using the same tactic against the PH?

    • Joe America says:

      If the Taiwanese people allow their government to submit to China, that is within their right. I frankly don’t care. It would relieve me, as an American taxpayer, from supporting a rogue state that is giving evidence that it is not really a sincere ally.

      • Martial Bonifacio says:

        Your lucky joe you already have your social security benefits or 401K. I cant wait to achieve and get those benefits as well and retire in a island somewhere in the Philippines.

        • Joe America says:

          I’m incredibly lucky. Put Biliran Island on your list of prospects. If you get part way up one of the mountains you are assured of cool evenings, fresh air and possibly nice views. Or choose the coastline if rising seas, tsunamis and Chinese navy bombardments don’t bother you. I picked mountains myself.

      • Lil says:

        I’ve read reports that Taiwan is growing culturally and economically closer to China especially among the younger generation. Majority of Chinese maoists have pointed this out as an example of a waiting game. Which means that once these young ones start to take over the politics, the prospect of Taiwan not needing to be under the American umbrella anymore will become a reality.
        But that’ll probably take 10 or so years…

    • The Mouse says:

      With the current KMT regime, it is not surprising.

      What I fear is that if the PH govt gives in to the Taiwanese demand now, that will be a leeway for them to claim Batanes from us like how they are claiming Senkakus which actually happened after Japan gave Taiwan fishing rights.

  16. nick Auclair says:

    Excellent article. It will be interesting to see how the international dynamics unfold if the U.S. has a destroyer stationed at Subic again.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, Nick, good of you to stop by. I find it interesting, the more that China behaves badly, the more she assures that the US will move strongly into Asia. I’d love to see the U.S back to give the Philippines the defensive support to allow her to build her own economy and capabilities.

  17. The Mouse says:

    Looks like you are right. News hints that the PCG personnel involved are gonna be axed.

    http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/05/25/946079/nbi-probe-points-coast-guard-negligence

    How do they suppose our PCG will respond to very hostile poachers in which China and Taiwan are known for? In one incident, a Chinese fisherman actually KILLED a Korean coast guard and severely injured one. Are they waiting for that to happen? Warning shots not allowed under ROE? And a lot of this poachers do not just poach fish but also species protected under Philippine laws.

    Maybe, next time, the PCG should just ram those hostile poachers. Hehe

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, thanks for this update. It’s a difficult situation that PCG often faces, walking the tight rope in dangerous situations. They have to be firm but not excessively violent. Which is why they deserve our highest respect. Hard job. You get it right, you are a hero. You get it wrong, severe punishment.

      • The Mouse says:

        The link I gave you in the other post, if I remember right, mentioned that the Philippines’ rules of engagement is the “strictest” in Southeast Asia. I don’t know how the Philippines will reconcile its almost absurdly pacifist outlook of geopolitical affairs and at the same time defend its territory? Sure there are international laws, but those are for sane countries willing to play by the hoops. Like an ITLOS decision favoring the Philippines will make China give back Scarborough and Panganiban (Mischief) Reef? That’s a dream.

        • Joe America says:

          You make me think that, in a way, the Philippine perspective is one of the most advanced, or “European”, in Asian, where it’s government believes in the rule of law rather than the rule of the bully. So ITLOS is important to the Philippines and likely to be ignored by China. The problems are that, within the Philippines, people don’t adhere to the finely crafted laws, and outside, they don’t either. But, in fact, it is the highest, most responsible road, in principle. Now to get behavior lined up properly with principle . . . that requires a lot of work.

    • Malakhai says:

      Well on the article its just a leak from an unnamed source. I still believe the PCG were correct in doing what they did.

      Also when can I watch the footage, investigators, I already have the popcorn.

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, me, too. Jolly Time buttered, microwave package. So the NBI mainly needs to look at the boat and review the autopsy report and wrap up the finding. End of this forthcoming week ought to do it.

        • The Mouse says:

          Reports say the Taiwanese family do not want the corpse re-autopsied…hiding something?

          Now, report says the NBI saw some scratch marks but TECO disputes it.

          • Joe America says:

            Well, it isn’t a “corpse” to the family and they are angry, so I can understand their refusal. Presumably the NBI will have access to the Taiwanese autopsy report.

  18. The Mouse says:

    The Taiwanese boat does not look as small as it seems

    • Joe America says:

      Not a putt putt, for sure. The third boat (gray?) got away was even bigger. The one that the Coast Guard originally tried to stop before being pushed aside by the little boat.. That guy’s slides are weird, especially the one of the hornet’s nest.

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