Neither Heaven nor Earth can tolerate the Philippines' savage act. Amid the thundering outcry on both sides across the Taiwan Strait, the Philippine government at last had to make an apology yesterday afternoon for the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by its Coast Guard. However, its apology statement still insists that the Taiwanese fisherman being shot to death was an “unintentional loss”.
This statement completely goes counter to the facts, and they are lying through their teeth. It can be said that the Philippine government's apology is totally insincere, simply trying to shirk its responsibility and clown around in hopes of slipping away unpunished.
Taiwan and the Philippines have territorial dispute over the sea area where the tragedy occurred. For a long time, both sides have had an implicit agreement that fishing boats of either side could go and fish in the area. But this time, a Philippine Coast Guard ship equipped with heavy weapons such as machine guns, automatic rifles and assault rifles had gone so far as to attack, without early warning, an unarmed small Taiwanese fishing boat with no counter-attacking strength, seriously violating the spirit of humanism. What is more outrageous is that when the Taiwanese fishing boat was retreating, the Philippine ship still hotly pursued and fiercely attacked it, regarding it as a shooting target and playing around with it . In the aftermath, more than 50 shot holes were found on the Taiwanese fishing boat.
It is not hard to imagine what a terror it was when the fishing boat was being attacked in a hail of bullets. This was absolutely not a so-called “unintentional” accident as the Philippine government tried to play it down, but a deliberate act aiming at recklessly killing civilians.
This is not the first time for Philippine public service ships to kill Taiwanese fishermen. Seven years ago, in an overlapping sea area between Taiwan and the Philippines, a Taiwanese fisherman was shot to death by Philippine police. However, to make a living, Taiwanese fishermen have to “ take the bull by the horns ”, gambling with their lives each time when they sail to fish in waters disputed by Taiwan and the Philippines.
The Philippines' savage act has pushed the tolerance of Taiwanese society to the critical point. Taiwan has taken an unprecedentedly hard stance, imposing two rounds of sanctions yesterday against the Philippines including a ban on the hiring of new Filipino workers. The series of counter measures resolutely and briskly taken by Taiwanese authorities is rather eye-popping. Among others, this surely also has the intention to “teach the moneys by killing a chicken”. In fact, Taiwanese fishing boats are also often bullied by other countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan. By standing firm this time, Taiwanese authorities also want to show its strength to these countries.
As a saying has it that “Brothers quarreling at home join forces against attacks from without”, the Mainland has expressed its full support of Taiwan these days. The State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have repeatedly condemned the Philippines' savage act. The Mainland has made its position known timely and befittingly, lending valuable and appropriate support to Taiwan. The attack on the Taiwanese fishing boat is a vicious criminal case. But because it happened in a sensitive area on the South China Sea contested by various forces, the incident becomes quite subtle. Taiwan by itself alone is unlikely to effectively deter peripheral countries casting a greedy eye on South China Sea's natural resources. This further highlights the necessity and urgency for the two sides across the Taiwan Strait to join hands in safeguarding marine rights and interests.
Undeniably, there are still differences between the two sides on sensitive issues including building up military mutual confidence. But there is no need for Taiwan to think too much when it comes to the common joint point of “both sides belonging to one China,” and to the joint point that concerns the nation's core interests. At the same time when Taiwan launches counter measures by itself with good reason, with advantage and with restraint, it should take this incident of a Taiwanese fishing boat being attacked as an opportunity to consider how to cooperate with the Mainland. Only in this way, can a long-term strategy be established to truly protect the safety of Taiwanese fishermen.
Strength has the final say in the gaming at South China Sea. The Philippine government is arrogant putting on airs and looking down on others, simply because it think it can count on the United States' baking behind the scene. Taking the Huangyan Island for example, the Chinese government gave the Philippines tit for tat. In the end, the Philippine ships coming to make trouble out of nothing had to pull out. The Philippines now has to acknowledge that Huangyan Island is under effective control of mainland China.
Cooperation between the two sides across the Taiwan Strait is in accord with the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation, and also beneficial to the safeguarding of the safety of life and property of people from both sides. A recent opinion poll in Taiwan shows over 70% of people on the island support the two sides to join forces in protection of fishing and fishery resources.
South China Sea's water territories and the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands on East China Sea are inherent territories of the Chinese nation. Only when the two sides across the Taiwan Strait join hands to cooperate, can an effective deterrent be formed so that other countries will have to shrink back and not dare to do what they wish without second thoughts.
In the final analysis, the two sides across the Taiwan Strait are from one and the same family. Brothers joining hands become stronger. The two sides joining hands to protect fishing and fishery resources will certainly be able to deal a blow to the arrogance of the Philippine authorities and give justice to our killed fishermen. 16 May 2013