No time to write.... odds and ends from around the web world. Hopefully I'll have more time to post tomorrow.
The VDR data from the boats has now been released. Liberty Times and ETToday
Decide for yourself: whose side makes more sense?
The story of the Taiwan fisherman
The story of the Phils Coast Guard
ROC and Phils gov'ts agree on joint probe
J Michael in The Diplomat identifies where Taiwan went wrong and could possibly have saved the situation.
Finally, this is from a Taiwanese law professor at the U of Warwick. Posted with his permission, it was sent to a list and then distributed.
Notes on the Taiwan-Philippines Dispute by Ming-Sung Kuo (adaption
of two posts in response to an online chat)
Legally speaking, the issue is whether the use of force is necessary for the Philippines Coast Guard to enforce its rights under Article 73, paragraph 1 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Preventing suspect poachers from 'fleeing' the jurisdiction of the coastal state concerned, including the disabling of suspect vessels by the use of arms, is a legitimate means to that end. Whether the said Taiwanese vessel attempted to flee, which would be a crucial factor in determining on the legality (ie necessity in this case) of the Philippines Coast Guard's use of force, cannot be answered until all legal procedures, including a thorough investigation, are completed.
Premature reactions from Taiwan, official and civil, in the wake of this unfortunate incident have simply made matters more complicated. It is the principle of equal sovereignty, not sincerity, that is the cardinal rule of international relations. In terms of the post-incident investigation, which concerns the exercise of sovereign rights, I would say that it is the law enforcement authorities of the Philippines, including the prosecutors, not their Taiwanese counterpart, that has the primary jurisdiction. Taiwan’s unilateral dispatch of an investigative team to the Philippines without the latter’s consent (Note: notice is not consent) is unacceptable to any sovereign state.
Having said that, I do not mean that Taiwan cannot demand a role in the investigation. Nevertheless, demanding an official apology before the investigation was even launched was simply out of step with diplomatic protocols. No sovereign state would agree to such a demand in a legal dispute like this. In the immediate wake of the incident, Taiwan could have put pressure (which should be proportionate too) on the Government of the Philippines to expedite the investigation for sure but should not have demanded an official apology before the investigation was completed. What makes matters more complicated is that it's unlikely that a sovereign state like the Philippines (or even the US) would make a formal government-to-government apology to Taiwan, which has no statehood under international law. The 'extra mile' that the Government of the Philippines claimed it had gone probably referred to President Aquino's 'deep regret and apology' to the Lin family and the Taiwanese people when the investigation was still ongoing.
Sadly, denied statehood way too long, Taiwan doesn't understand how sovereign states interact with each other in the postwar international legal system. Did the incident result from territorial disputes between Taiwan and the Philippines? No. Is there any territorial dispute over Batanes between Taiwan and the Philippines? No. If so, what is the point of sending armed forces near the territorial waters of the Philippines? To take an undisputed territory of the Philippines like Batanes away from the Philippines would be a blatant violation of Article 2 of the UN Charter. Put bluntly, it is an aggressive war. Or, conducting war games is just a way to put pressure on the Philippines. Doesn't this evoke the dated gunboat diplomacy in the imperial age? I don't think this is a wise way to win public opinions in the international society.
In my view, the way that the Government of the Philippines responded to Taiwan's demands didn't suggest insincerity, although it did not make Taiwanese feel good either, which is what Taiwanese mean by 誠意. Unfortunately 'feel good' is not what international society is concerned about. Perhaps this is the root cause of Taiwan's frustration amidst this incident. I do agree that We the Taiwanese People have to fight on for the unfulfilled sovereignty. Yet, we should pick a good fight. Unfortunately this incident is not and the way it has been dealt with is unhelpful.
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