Unfortunately, the incident that resulted to Taiwan’s utter show of animosity towards the Philippines is not a minor one as it cost the life of one of their fishermen.
To them the Manila hostage crisis of 2010, where eight Taiwanese hostages were killed, has barely healed the wounds of the victim’s families, when another fatal shooting has been committed by a Filipino on their citizen.
According to reports, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) had warned first the Taiwanese fishing vessel that they were in the waters of the country’s exclusive economic zone, but the vessel did not leave and instead tried to ram the PCG boat.
In self-defense, the coast guards opened fire on the fishing boat hitting Hung Shih-cheng, 65, who died from a bullet wound in the neck.
The underlying problem here is that the location the fishing vessel was found in is the same exclusive economic zone that, like China, Taiwan is also trying to claim as theirs.
The highly regrettable incident is just the latest proof that the South China Sea is an emerging flashpoint over competing claims, in part, by nations like the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, and claiming it in whole is China and its estranged neighbor, Taiwan.
Because of this, Taiwan has announced the withdrawal of its representative in Manila and said it had stopped accepting applications for Filipino workers, as a retaliatory step for the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman.
But what does not augur well with our country’s relationship with Taiwan is that the office of President Ma Ying-jeou, has rejected President Benigno Aquino’s apology, branding it as inadequate.
They didn’t want PNoy calling the shooting as “unfortunate” and “unintentional”, as if it is in our character to be trigger happy and assassins.
What is exacerbating the worrisome situation is the threat that Taiwan’s Navy and Coast Guard would stage an exercise as a show of strength in disputed waters near where the upsetting incident occurred.
Shall we be seeing then Taiwan’s F-16 fighters, Kidd-class destroyers and other warships, if only to show how militarily muscled they are for our own good?
We just hope this lamentable problem can be settled diplomatically before it worsens and pray similar incidents will not happen again.