...given the rampant corruption within all Institutions of the Philippines, that this incident has less to do with maintaining territorial integrity and far more to good old fashioned extortion. - Meaning that Freelancing Coastguards extort "fines" from Fishing Boats and turn nasty when refused.
In the interest of fairness, you may want to consider providing a source to support this position with precision rather than a general position on all
institutions, unless you are prepared to lay the groundwork. In this shooting-at-sea incident, it is the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (vessel number: PCG-BFAR MCS-3001
- a 115.45 ton vessel that is over 30 m in length) that is entity responsible and the reported Philippine version of events has inherent defects and on the face of it, not credible without more details. In contrast, the Taiwanese fishing vessel, Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, was a 15.15 ton vessel this is 14.7 m in length.
For those who would defend such the version of events as reported in the Philippine press, as 'complete', IMHO are not reasonable people. This is why an investigation is being demanded by Taiwan and Philippine transparency on on this area will help with managing mutual concerns.
The last thing the Philippines need is a gun battle or ramming incident with the Taiwanese Navy. When the Philippine law enforcement agencies start shooting at civilians of another country, they cannot claim to want to settle maritime disputes peacefully. This is such a own goal. This shooting-at-sea incident once again demonstrates the incompetence of the Philippine Government in the area of crisis management (its chronic misguided sense of self-importance and lack of urgency in a crisis). This incompetence will again have unfortunate consequences for their citizens abroad and make life more difficult than necessary for those seeking to leave Philippines to earn a living in Taiwan.
Will China exploit this incident in pursuit of its claims? You betcha!
I understand that there are legitimate concerns about freedom of navigation in contested waters, given the stated position of the Philippine Government. The urgent need to prevent further unnecessary deaths of fishermen in the South China Sea should provide scope for increased and robust unilateral Taiwanese patrols in areas of dispute in the EEZ boundaries between Taiwan and Philippines (which has already occurred). Taiwan's navy is fully capable of protecting its EEZ interests on its own, in this case. It is currently a bilateral, government-to-government issue between Philippines and Taiwan. If Taiwan does not over play its hand in military escalation options (as it cannot be seen as attacking naval vessels of an ally of the US), it should have a free-hand to use soft-power escalation options with longer term effects.
US and the other 9 ASEAN members should remain neutral in this dispute, unless the military aspect escalates out of control. The stating of neutrality by external parties should introduce an element of caution in the calculations of both parties in the dispute. External party neutrality will be seen as a favourable outcome for Taiwan by the Taiwanese, as the stronger naval power with a defence budget that is at least 5 times larger than the Philippines; and I suspect this would be their goal, in their escalation options. Pinoy pride is likely to prevent a quick settlement that may result in a period of hostility and tensions. The second and third order effects following from the incident is unfortunate and counter-productive for countries sharing a maritime border.
In the case of the People's Republic of China (PRC), its a wild card that I would not want to venture a guess as to future actions. IMO, the 10 May 2013, a Global Times editorial opinion gives us an insight to CCP concerns. Any early PRC intervention may complicate matters for Taiwan; and may not be appreciated.
See news quote below for the latest Taiwanese developments:
12 May 2013
-- TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan Sunday dispatched four coastguard and naval vessels to beef up patrols in waters near the Philippines following public outrage over the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Filipino coastguards. "The government is determined to protect our fishermen," cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen said in a statement as a Lafayette-class naval frigate and coastguard vessels set sail for the area
where the 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman was killed Thursday. The move came shortly after authorities issued a strongly-worded statement late Saturday night demanding Manila apologise to Taiwan and compensate the family of the dead man.
In its statement, Taiwan also asked the Philippine authorities to bring to justice the coastguards responsible and start negotiating with Taipei on a proposed fishery agreement. "If the Filipino government fails to respond in a positive manner within 72 hours, the hiring of Philippine workers will be frozen," presidential office spokeswoman Lee Chia-fei warned.
Hung Shih-cheng, the skipper of the 15-tonne "Kuang Ta Hsin No 28", was killed during the incident, which also left the boat riddled with more than 50 bullet holes. "This is nothing but a slaughter," prosecutor Liu Chia-kai told reporters after examining the ship...
The Taiwanese Government's hand has been forced by the use of undiplomatic words of the Philippine Government spokesperson in public comments after the shooting-at-sea incident. Over the weekend, Taiwan will muster its political, economic and military power to bear against the Philippine Government, until they back-down from their current position. Due to domestic imperatives, the Taiwanese KMT Government under President Ma has no choice but to keep increasing the pressure on the Philippines to get a satisfactory outcome for Taiwan, but Pinoy pride and sense of self-importance will prevent them from backing down from their position (or negotiating to generate a mutually acceptable compromise). Consequently, as a second order effect, Philippine international credibility will be damaged by their insistence on their position without due regard to the legitimate concerns of Taiwan, which benefits PRC in the long run. US and the international community attention span is limited. They will develop greater selective deafness to the Philippines and their petty fishery disputes, as the Taiwan lobby in the US goes to work to protect Taiwanese interests (however Taiwan may define them) for the long haul as a third order effect. It is unfortunate that the Philippine Government may not appreciate the sophistication, funding and patience of the Taiwan lobby in the US.
For context, Taiwan has already inked a fisheries agreement with Japan
, to ensure that the existing maritime dispute with Japan does not flare-up. They were trying to do the same with the Philippines. Given that this is the not the first shooting incident, Taiwan cannot proceed with an agreement with the Philippines with an attitude for compromise on the conditions set by President Ma. See this latest news: "Taiwan issues 3-day ultimatum, threatens to freeze hiring of Pinoy workers
." The mess has been escalated by the media in Taiwan, which adopts the attitude of PRC and many Taiwanese watching these reports are not aware of the way Taiwanese fishing boats plunder the waters of other nations. The good news about this storm in a tea cup is the level of sanctions. If this is done for a short duration, it amounts to a slap on the wrist in the bigger scheme of things.