Taiwan and Philippines Fishing Problems and More

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Monday May 13, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

The recent shooting of a Taiwanese fishing boat by a Philippine Coast Guard vessel on the high seas has raised all sorts of questions and issues. The Philippine vessel riddled the Taiwan fishing boat with some 40 to 50 shots, killing a 65 year old Taiwanese fisherman.

Initial questions ask how the Philippine government could justify such an action, especially since the waters it took place in are an overlap of the exclusive economic zones of both nations.

Thus far the Philippine government has not come up with any plausible justification and Taiwanese want answers.

Other deeper questions show that the Ma administration was caught flat-footed and is scrambling to find a way to resolve it. They are also caught by their previous pro-china attitudes.The Philippine government says that it can do little because of its "one China" policy i.e. they cannot negotiate directly with Taiwan.

A deeper question that is in the wings is the fact that if the Ma government is this ineffectual with the Philippines, what would it do if one of its fishing ships was destroyed by Chinese in the South China Sea. Taiwan is not out of the woods by any standards.