Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Phils/Taiwan Mess Round Up: Links-n-stuff

Bike gear on display

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.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Anonymous said...

the only taiwanese to make sense. this is what we, filipinos have been pointing out, it happened in batanes, an UNDISPUTED Philippine territory amd an attack on the area by foreign military risk activating the MDT, which calls for US intervention

James said...

Fantastic analysis. Anyone with any basic understanding of how international relation work (or even criminal cases) instantly saw that the 'apologise-before-any-investigation-has-even-begun-let-alone-concluded' reaction displayed cringe-worthy dilettantism in terms of diplomatic protocol.

This has crystallised what irks me so whenever these kinds of spats arise. The embarrassing lack of nous and the way the public, egged on by a clueless and careless media, don't have the foggiest idea about how these things work.

Anonymous said...

The root problem is who has the right in this water. The fishing boat was in the overlapped area of Taiwan's and Philippines' EEZ. This is a disputed water and there is no agreement between Taiwan and Philippines on the boundary. In fact, China also claims this is its EEZ. While UNCLOS states median line could be used as the boundary, it also states disputed area is based on involved states' agreement. Without no agreement, accidents are bound to happen. This has been a long lasting issue even when Shui-Bian Chen was the president.

Anonymous said...

You know Taiwan is lying by saying SE of Batanes is between Taiwan and the Philippines which is WRONG. SOUTHEAST of Batanes is actually the Babuyan Islands which is part of the province of Cagayan

yankdownunder said...

ROC and Phils gov'ts agree on joint probe??

In a press conference in Manila yesterday, Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed that Taiwan and the Philippines had already reached a consensus for the two governments to conduct a parallel probe into the May 9 fatal shooting incident instead of a joint investigation, which the ROC government had initially requested.

The linked article doesn't mention a joint probe but a '"arallel probe"

Also there's this from State Dept briefing, May 20


MR. VENTRELL: Go ahead. Can you tell me your name?

QUESTION: Yes. Ping Liu of China Times, Taiwan.


QUESTION: On the case of Natalee Holloway, I think which happened in Dutch Aruba around 2005 – an Alabama high school graduate disappeared there. And I think a joint investigation was conducted by Netherland Government and the U.S. FBI. My question is: Does U.S. support the joint investigation of – by Taiwan and the Philippines on this tragedy?

MR. VENTRELL: I think you’re trying to tie together two very disparate incidents there, but we’ve said that we welcome the Philippines pledge to conduct a thorough and expeditious investigation. We note that the Philippine President appointed a personal representative to Taiwan to convey his deep regret and apology to the family of the fisherman and the people of Taiwan. So we’ve been pretty consistent about this all along.


QUESTION: Sorry if I – because when the incident happened several days ago, you said you welcome Philippine and Taiwan to conduct a joint investigation. And now it seems you change your stance like you welcome Philippine to conduct thorough investigation. So just to clarify: Do you welcome Philippine and Taiwan to do the investigation together?

MR. VENTRELL: Well, we understand they’re both doing a separate investigation. We’ve yet to see the final reports from either of the investigations, so --

QUESTION: Before you said you welcomed them to work together.

MR. VENTRELL: It doesn’t appear that that’s happening, so --

QUESTION: So will you tell Philippine that your stance is welcome them to do this together?

MR. VENTRELL: We want them to work together to resolve this issue, this unfortunate and difficult situation. So we want both parties to do that. Okay?

QUESTION: But obviously the Philippine rejected Taiwan’s effort to work this out together.

MR. VENTRELL: We want both of them to work together.

James said...

'The root problem is who has the right in this water.'

Did you even read any of the post? The issue being discussed was the abysmal failure of the Taiwanese administration to follow diplomatic protocol.

Anonymous said...

Read the article before you comment. Incident happened in batanes eez- well within PH territory. Furthermore; PH coast guards chase the fishing boats for several hours which means that they're "fishing" deep within our eez.

Anonymous said...

What that Taiwanese law professor wrote is the most reasonable view that I've read from any Taiwanese about this incident. If only there were any politicians or media figures here who could say something like that. Thanks for putting this up.


Anonymous said...

Ok, today's T Times show the map which "refutes Manilla's argument " the Batanes are in white as if they do not even exist. In the China Post they are nonexistent on their map (the Bubuyan Islands are there) The Bloomberg article that everybody keeps posting on their FB's as "proof" of the "truth" states the following...

"Around 10 a.m. on that day, his fishing boat suddenly sped up from 3.3 knots to 12 knots, near coordinates southeast of the Batanes Islands between Taiwan and the Philippines, according to investigation findings announced by Taiwan’s justice ministry. " How are the Batanes "between" anything?

Mike Fagan said...

"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."

Wasn't this very nationalistic sentiment the fuel that set off the whole bundle of "official and civil" fireworks, though? At the end of the day it's basically a commons problem, and the Taiwanese are better equipped to exploit those commons than the Philipines due to their superior fishing industry. The best answer is surely a common, open market between the two countries with tradable fishing permits where the incentives are so aligned as to make overfishing unprofitable.

Yet that is totally out of the question. Why...

"We The Taiwanese People".

I would say it's embarassingly anachronistic, and it is that too, but more importantly it's just vile collectivism.

Anonymous said...

I find it rather weird that Mr Cole thinks Taiwan handled the incident "very well" first?

Taiwan has already demanded apology, compensation "fishing rights right inside Philippine waters but Taiwan calls it "disputed"(ha, what a joke unless they consider Batanes part of Taiwan?) BEFORE demanding an investigation?

Now, they're caught down in their pants. Even Taiwanese investigation seem ending up supporting the Philippine claims. How will Taiwan save face then?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mike,

I would like to redirect you to this blog by an American living in the Philippines to see a clearer perspective how people over there see this incident



Anonymous said...

To James and others claiming the fishing boat was in Philippines' territory:

There is a big difference between territory water and exclusive economic zone, read the links below for the detail.

Territory water is only 12 nautical miles off the coast while EEZ is 200 nautical miles. The fishing boat was 42 nautical miles to the cloest Philippines coast (including Batanes Islands) and was NOT in Philippines' territory water (obviously 42 > 12). As stated previusly regarding EEZ, while UNCLOS states median line could be used as the boundary, it also states disputed area is based on involved states' agreement. It's not that simple to say "it's close to me so it's mine" here. Again, the fishing boat was NOT in Philippines' territory water (42 > 12) and was in the overlapped EEZ of Taiwan and Philippines.

Territorial waters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_waters

Exclusive economic zone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_economic_zone

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous, the 43 NM is from Balintang island to the incident. HOWEVER, the 12 NM territorial waters are measured from the BASELINE.

The question now is, how far was the incident from baseline?

From photo estimations, it fell within Philippine territorial waters, not just EEZ

And by the way, Taiwan has NOT signed the UNCLOS, therefore cannot invoke any "right" to EEZ UNLESS they fully accept they are under the rule of the PRC

Mike Fagan said...

"...I find it rather weird that Mr Cole thinks Taiwan handled the incident "very well" first?"

I suspect J.M. is working on the theory that it is better to try to influence the Taiwanese by making them feel loved and supported. Hence his insistence that the nationalist Taiwanese reaction was "normal". Adopting that attitude probably won't do him any harm as a reporter either, considering that he needs to get various high-ranking Taiwanese officials to talk to him.

Even so, it is my opinion (and I don't care if he or anyone else doesn't like it - we are all free to ignore each other) that Taiwanese nationalism is an unfortunate consequence of history, and that it is also dangerous given that it informs the behaviour of both State officials and Street thugs.

And I'm not partial or biased about this either because I also disapprove of nationalism in my own country and in general. To me nationalism just another form of collectivism that relegates individuals to the status of underviduals, with people treating each other as walking membership cards, with various politically contingent permissions rather than inviolable rights.

Anonymous said...

This piece should be interesting to everyone following this:


Former president of the Philippines signed an MOU with Taiwan granting Taiwanese fishermen "safe corridor" on their way to the Pacific...which means Taiwan recognized Philippine sovereignty of the area


"I think everyone has forgotten about the safety corridor which Cory Aquino signed during her term. It allowed Taiwanese fishermen to pass through Philippine waters on their way to the Pacific Ocean," he said.

Robles said if Taiwan believed the area was theirs, in the first place, "why will they sign that MOU [Memorandum of Understanding]?"

Anonymous said...

@another Anonymous

How do you estimate the fishing boat was in Philippines' territory water when you are not sure where the baseline is?

It's not hard to find where the baseline is, this link shows the baseline: http://0rz.tw/VZjBd . Or even better, this link shows the territory water range: http://0rz.tw/RbUcM . Compared to the VDR and GPS data from the fishing boat, it's just outside Philippines' territory water. Or at least, one can't 100% conclude it's within the territory water like so many Filipinos have claimed.

Also, UNCLOS uses "states" instead of "countries", it doesn't require being a country recognized by UN to be covered.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 1:04

My argument is not about Taiwan not being a country but rather DID THEY SIGN THE UNCLOS?

Only states who signed the UNCLOS can claim EEZ and they can only take advantage of it if they fully attach themselves to China because China is a signatory of UNCLOS

I'm glad you mentioned those because there is this photo


Again, did you not argue that 43>12 but I said to you that 12 NM are counted from the BASELINE? Now, I ask you, how are was the incident from the baseline?

Again, that 43 NM is from the Balintang ISLAND to the incident, not 43 NM from the island.

And how come, in most photos and Taiwan claims, they don't include Taiwan's supposedly overlapping EEZ with Japan while they include the province of Batanes which is POPULATED by Philippine citizens in their EEZ?

Double standards? Bullying?

Anonymous said...

It makes we wonder why the Taiwanese are not making fuzz about the 2006 incident where a Taiwanese poacher was also killed. They were 500 meters off Sabtang Island? And Taiwan "includes" Sabtang Island in the supposed "EEZ"?

Also, if Taiwan believes in their 200 NM EEZ, why did they not cross the Bashi channel for their military drills when EEZs do not restrict ship movement? (harnessing of natural resources are another matter, however)

Mike Fagan said...

@Anon 11.54pm

I briefly looked at those two links. It may be that both he and I are wrong about Taiwan's "ficticious" EEZ, and the specific territoriality claims in question.

Be that as it may, the more important point - and the one likely to be lost in the media (and on the media) - is that the underlying problem is simply an market commons problem rendered more difficult by Statist territorial claims backed up by nationalist sturm und drang.

Anonymous said...


Again, it doesn't need to sign the UNCLOS to be covered by it or to claim EEZ. This is already an outdated false-statement created by Filipinos several days ago and the correct info has been used to clear it.

In UNCLOS Article 1, it clearly states it applies to an entity.

2. (1) "States Parties" means States which have consented to be bound
by this Convention and for which this Convention is in force.
(2) This Convention applies mutatis mutandis to the entities
referred to in article 305, paragraph l(b), (c), (d), (e) and (f), which become
Parties to this Convention in accordance with the conditions relevant to each,
and to that extent "States Parties" refers to those entities

Where do you see in UNCLOS saying if you do not sign, you have zero EEZ?

And yes, it should be based on the baseline. I don't mind to admit I was wrong saying coastline. But will you admit your were wrong when you said UNCLOS doesn't apply to Taiwan even in UNCLOS Article 1,2,(2) says any entity is covered?

Furthermore, even using baseline, the fishing boat was outside of Philippines 12NM (~22.224KM) territory water when the incident happened at 19.58"N, 122.58"E, which was just outside of Philippines' territory, about 40KM of the baseline. This link shows 19.58"N, 122.58"E is roughly (20+20)=40KM out of Philippines baseline: http://i.imgur.com/haIfCJ4.jpg .

For people asking about 2006 incident, it was happened within Philippines' territory water at 20.40"N, 122.07"E when two fishmen were killed. Taiwan government did condemn the killing at the time. In this incident, a big difference is that the fishman was killed outside of Philippines' territory.

As for Taiwan and Japan, both had an agreement on overlapped EEZ. For the overlapped EEZ between Taiwan and Philippines, Philippines government has refused to talk or discuss about it.

Anonymous said...

Below is the "governing law" cited by the author. Would someone tell me where does it say the enforcer can use deadly weapons on fleeing "poachers"? Because without it, his entire argument falls apart.

Enforcement of laws and regulations of the coastal State

1. The coastal State may, in the exercise of its sovereign rights to explore, exploit, conserve and manage the living resources in the exclusive economic zone, take such measures, including boarding, inspection, arrest and judicial proceedings, as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations adopted by it in conformity with this Convention.

2. Arrested vessels and their crews shall be promptly released upon the posting of reasonable bond or other security.

3. Coastal State penalties for violations of fisheries laws and regulations in the exclusive economic zone may not include imprisonment, in the absence of agreements to the contrary by the States concerned, or any other form of corporal punishment.

4. In cases of arrest or detention of foreign vessels the coastal State
shall promptly notify the flag State, through appropriate channels, of the action taken and of any penalties subsequently imposed.

Michael Turton said...

"'Would someone tell me where does it say the enforcer can use deadly weapons on fleeing "poachers"?""

Can you us exactly where it forbids the use of weapons in self-defense? That is what Phils said it was doing. Under UNCLOS an attempt to ram essentially constitutes piracy (article 101). Which may be resisted with deadly force. Firing across the bow is not considered deadly force, and firing into bow and stern -- which was what Phils did by the undisputed bullet evidence of the ROC's own investigation -- is perfectly acceptable. Also there are many rules governing usages on the sea. UNCLOS is just one. Google is your friend.


Michael Turton said...

Let's see what the videos say...

James said...

Anon at whatever time it was. Why don't you give yourself a name - Mickey Muppet, whatever. It just makes it much easier when we're referring back to each other.

'To James [see that] and others claiming the fishing boat was in Philippines' territory ...'

Eh? Really. Eh? I've written two posts, neither of which mention territory or the actual incident in any way.

My preoccupation has been the way the situation has been handled and (on my own blog) the xenophobic backlash.

I accept that English isn't your first language but, please, when it's clear as day that I've not even referred in passing to the territorial issue (or, again, even the incident itself), don't just project/make stuff up.

I may add that, while I've assiduously avoided the nitty-gritty until such time as hard evidence appears but if I were to engage I wouldn't need to be pointed in the direction of wikipedia. Thanks for your hard one click of work there, though.

Anonymous said...


The Fisheries lane has already been agreed upon in 1993 by Taiwan and the Philippines as well as Taiwan being given a "safe corridor passage (to the Pacific)" in the Philippines which is an indication of Taiwan recognizing Philippine territory. Why should the Philippine negotiate with this attempted theft??

The EEZ is a provision of the UNCLOS. How can someone who did NOT ratify it entitled to it?

And why does Taiwan keep on INCLUDING BATANES(which has INHABITANTS who are Philippine citizens -- this is a matter of jurisdiction, not EEZ nor UNCLOS) in their "EEZ" when it is a PROVINCE of the Philippines?

The Philippines does not extend their EEZ beyond the Bashi channel because of the fisheries agreement in 1993, Taiwan should do the same.

And if Taiwan indeed thinks that they are entitled to EEZ, why don;t they extend their military drills to the farthest? EEZ does not restrict ship movements, ONLY

and I think you forgot this one:

>>Taiwan did NOT sign/ratify the UNCLOS and therefore did NOT consent it.

And the copied phrase in the UN proves it.

Taiwan needs to sign/ratify the UNCLOS to CONSENT it.

How did Taiwan "thank Japan" for agreeing to the fisheries agreement?


SO what is Taiwan's plan here? Claim Batanes?

Anonymous said...

There are two ways to view the sentence: "To James and others claiming the fishing boat was in Philippines' territory", it can mean

to James and "others claiming the fishing boat ...."


to "James and others" claming the fishing boat .....

Obviously you fail to recognize both even though you seem to claim English is your first language.

The reason to address you is that you said "Did you even read any of the post? The issue being discussed was the abysmal failure of the Taiwanese administration to follow diplomatic protocol" which is not correct that other posts are talking about Batanes and Philippines territory, etc, just look at the first reply.

Anonymous said...

finally some sense from taipei


Readin said...


"The EEZ is a provision of the UNCLOS. How can someone who did NOT ratify it entitled to it?"

Right, how can someone who did not ratify the UNCLOS be required to respect the EEZ of another country?

All the legal arguments being made about UN treaties don't make sense in the context of Taiwan since the UN doesn't allow Taiwan to join. You're not bound by the rules of any club that you're not allowed to be a member of.

If the two countries involved (Taiwan and the Philippines) mutually agree to settle the dispute by following UN rules and customs the are free to do so as sovereign states, but they are not required to because Taiwan isn't a member of the UN.

James said...

There are dozens of ways to read the sentence. It doesn't make them the right way. If that was you intended meaning (and let's face it,we both know it wasn't - you're just dissembling or styling it out it was known around my way as a nipper)then clearly a comma was in order before the conjunction for clarity's sake.

I wouldn't go down the language route, mate. As that fearless Frenchwoman told the murderers in London the other day: You won't win. I actually raised the lingo issue as a mitigating defence of your oddball non-sequiturs, not to have a go (which I would never do to someone whose second-language ability is in another league from mine).

The original point stands: You and others want to drag a post that had a different angle to it back to a subject that was being amply covered on an earlier thread, rather than engaging with the topic at hand - a very interesting piece of legal analysis.

Use your loaf, mate. I'm not talking about the one post that came before mine on the comments thread. I'm talking about THE post on the blog. If you want to rabbit about what you want to rabbit about, regardless, then find an appropriate thread. In a fair few online communities you get your arse turfed for irrelevance or 'crossing boards'.

I singled you out because you commence with your 'the root of the problem'. I accept that was in riposte to the first comment but, really, when the original blog post goes in to great detail about the admin's handling of the case and the surrounding legal issues, opening with that line is tantamount to saying: 'I don't care what the subject is, I'm just going to keeping thumping this tub.'

Infuriating and lame.