Shooting calls for strong countermeasures

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-5-10 0:53:02

A Taiwanese fishing boat was fired upon in the South China Sea yesterday morning, causing the death of a Taiwanese fisherman and the severe damage to the vessel. According to the fishermen on the boat, the perpetrator was a Filipino military ship. Yang Yi, China's State Council Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman, yesterday evening said that the Chinese side "strongly condemns" this "barbaric act," and demanded the Philippines conduct an investigation as soon as possible. Taiwan's "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" also demanded the Philippine side track down the perpetrator, but merely said it was "concerned" about this case, rather than taking a tough stance.

Most of the analysts from the Chinese mainland speculated that because the Philippines was awed by the might of the Chinese mainland, it had vented its anger on Taiwan to show its will and determination, improve its position in negotiations, and maintain domestic morale.

Shooting a fishing boat and causing death in a disputed area is a very serious event on the South China Sea. Although the details remain unknown, it is generally known that the Philippines will face retaliation from China if it really takes this ruthless approach to Chinese fishermen.

In regard to this case, Beijing's next step depends primarily on how officials in Taiwan react - whether they have the courage to lift their "concern" to "strong condemnation" and whether they wish for help from the mainland.

Thus far, Taiwan's attitude has remained warm despite frictions with other stakeholders. If they make representations to the Philippines themselves, this matter will end with nothing definitive, or perhaps at most, compensation from the Philippines.

However, there's a very small possibility the Taiwan authorities may seek help from the mainland to safeguard the interests of the fishermen, as they are afraid of the displeasure of the Democratic Progressive Party and Washington.

The mainland needs to strike a balance between Ma's concerns and the interests of Chinese people. If it is confirmed the Philippine navy is behind the shooting, the mainland should show its stance by intensifying navy activities in the disputed water between the mainland and Philippines.

The move will win support from mainland people, and the Taiwan public as well if it doesn't embarrass the Ma administration. The prompt reaction will be conducive to inhibiting provocations from Manila. The Philippines is the most "barbaric" country in the South China Sea. It has shot Taiwan fishermen in the past. Strong countermeasures are needed to keep the area in order.


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