20130516 Manila negotiations questioned
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Manila negotiations questioned

By Chris Wang / Staff reporter

The pan-green camp yesterday reiterated its support of the government’s tough stance and sanctions against the Philippines over the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman, but said that the inconsistent position of the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in bilateral negotiations has been questionable.

The government recognized the Philippines’ “positive response” at a press conference called at 1am yesterday morning after five hours of negotiation, but subsequently changed its rhetoric, saying that Manila’s response was insincere as it announced a series of sanctions at 10am and 6pm yesterday.

The about-face within the span of several hours was puzzling and showed the differences between and the chaotic decisionmaking process of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Council, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Department of International Affairs director Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠).

The remarks of Philippine Representative to Taiwan Antonio Basilio, who said the people of the Philippines — rather than the Philippine government — expressed deep regret and apologized for the unfortunate event, was unacceptable, Liu said, adding that the appearance of Basilio and Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) did indicate a reciprocal response.

If Taiwan was not satisfied with the results of the negotiations, it should have immediately terminated the talks, Liu said.

Manila has neither offered a formal and official apology, nor has it provided a definite date to complete the investigation into the incident and identify the perpetrators, he added.

“We are not satisfied with and will not accept [Manila’s response], and we will not compromise,” Liu said yesterday morning about the bilateral negotiations.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) added that Taiwan’s outrage should be directed at the Philippine government rather than Philippine migrant workers in Taiwan because the fisherman was shot dead by Philippine civil servants.

At a separate press conference, DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) blasted Lin for “serving as a translator for Basilio and trying to find an excuse for the Philippines” at the 1am press conference.

The DPP legislative caucus also urged Taiwanese to refrain from venting their anger at Philippine workers in Taiwan and called for the government to maintain its strong stance by regularly sending naval vessels to escort Taiwanese fishing boats in the Bashi Channel and by expanding the navy’s and the coast guard’s patrol area beyond the current temporary enforcement line.

DPP lawmakers Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) and Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), meanwhile, said that Taipei’s sanctions against Manila, which include freezing the hiring of Philippine workers and suspending bilateral tourism, trade and technology exchanges, would be meaningful.

Separately, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) condemned Manila for citing the so-called “one China” policy as its guideline for handling the diplomatic row.

The “one China” policy was why Manila chose to apologize to Taiwanese rather than the government, Hsu said.

Manila has never offered concrete pledges on a bilateral fisheries negotiation and its lack of sincerity toward the victim’s family was demonstrated by its offer of compensation from private donations rather than the Philippine government, the lawmaker said.

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