Blog Opinion: There is a role to play for USA on Taiwan & Philippines South China Sea differences

By Terence Chulavachana

What happens with you two best friends are having a fight? Do you get involved or do you just sit aside and watch, hoping things get better? It is a hard question to answer. But what if you are the big brother also, to those two friends? Should the big brother, prevent the smaller brothers to slug it out? Would the interest of the big brother, get hurt from the fight? The USA, is close to both the Philippines and Taiwan. Perhaps, the USA can play a constructive role, in the dispute between the two countries, in the South China Sea. Philippines is also a part of ASEAN and Taiwan, is locked in with China. Aljazeera reports: ” Taiwan’s government has issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the Philippines’ government, demanding an apology over the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman. The Taiwanese coastguard on Sunday dispatched four vessels to guard the disputed water where the shooting incident took place. “The government is determined to protect our fishermen,” cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen said in a statement as vessels headed towards the Bashi Strait, claimed by both governments, where the fisherman was killed on Thursday. If the Filipino government fails to respond in a positive manner within 72 hours, the hiring of Philippine workers will be frozen. Ao Ming-wei, the captain of the coastguard vessel Tainan Jian said his vessel was prepared to face provocation and the crew would fire against possible threats. Taiwan has demanded Manila apologise and compensate the victim’s family or face a freeze on the hiring of its nationals. It also asked the Philippines to bring to justice the coastguards responsible and start negotiating a fisheries 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 said on Saturday. There are about 87,000 Philippine domestic helpers and other workers in Taiwan and they send home hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Lee said other sanctions could include recalling the Taiwan ambassador to the Philippines and asking the Philippines ambassador to Taiwan to return to Manila to assist the investigation (Read More).”

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