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Taiwan declares sanctions against Philippines


Premier Jiang Yi-huah announced this morning that the ROC has adopted sanctions against the Philippines over an attack on a Taiwanese fishing vessel May 9 that left one fisherman dead. Effective from 12 a.m. May 15, the ROC has suspended the processing of applications by Filipinos to work in Taiwan, recall the ROC's representative in Manila, and request the Philippine representative in Taiwan to return to his home country.

The decision was made after President Ma Ying-jeou called a high-level national security meeting at 7 a.m. today and concluded that last night's response from Manila, delivered by the Philippine representative to Taiwan Antonio Basilio, did not satisfy the four demands set forth by Taipei, said the premier.

With regard to the developments that may follow, Jiang added, if Manila Economic and Cultural Office Chairman Amadeo Perez, Jr. delivers an official statement that satisfies the demands when he arrives in Taiwan today, the ROC government will consider cancelling the aforementioned sanctions. If the Philippine government fails to meet the demands by 6 p.m. today, the ROC government will impose a second set of sanctions:

1. Issue a "red" travel alert for the Philippines. The Philippine government's unfriendly behavior toward the ROC in the Guang Da Xing No. 28 fishing boat incident has created tension between the two nations. Therefore, ROC citizens will be discouraged from traveling to the Philippines for tourism or business purposes.
2. Suspend high-level exchanges and interactions between the ROC and the Philippines.
3. Suspend economic exchanges with the Philippines, as well as all promotional and investment-soliciting activities.
4. Suspend agricultural and fishery cooperation with the Philippines.
5. Suspend bilateral exchange and cooperation in scientific and technological research projects.
6. Suspend negotiations on aviation rights.
7. Suspend Filipinos' use of the Advance Online Registration System for the Visitors of Nationals from Five Southeast Asian Countries to Taiwan, which grants them visa exemptions.
8. Authorize joint exercises by the ROC's Ministry of National Defense and Coast Guard Administration in waters south of Taiwan.

While the Philippine government has gone through the motion of apologizing and offering restitution, officials at this morning's national security meeting did not consider that response to be substantive enough. It was apparent that Manila was hoping to downplay the severity of the incident and had responded in a most irresponsible fashion, the premier elaborated.

First, in response to the ROC's first request, for a formal apology, the Philippine government merely authorized Chairman Perez to express "the Filipino people's deep regret and apology," without expressing its own regrets. As this case involves Philippine officials' killing of an ROC fisherman and the destruction of his ship, the Philippine government cannot evade responsibility for these events.

Regarding the ROC's second request, for an expeditious investigation followed by severe punishment of the perpetrators, the Philippines has only promised an investigation but has not committed its Department of Justice to make criminal or administrative charges against the perpetrators; nor has it mentioned possible punishments against them, including fines, dismissal from service, imprisonment and financial restitution to the victim's family.

Third, with respect to compensation, the Philippine government is only willing to offer donations from its citizens to the victim's family through Chairman Perez. It has not spoken of accepting full responsibility and providing compensation for the losses it incurred.

As for the ROC's fourth demand, for fishery negotiations, Manila has merely stated that relevant agencies will immediately convene "for the purpose of finding ways to prevent such unfortunate incidents from occurring in the future." Its Department of Agriculture has not, as was promised earlier, convened a meeting between relevant agencies and their ROC counterparts to discuss these issues.

Finally, the Philippine government has not indicated with an official statement what Representative Basilio is authorized to negotiate in Taipei; it simply informed the media of the situation by way of text messaging last night. This conduct does not meet the formal and rigorous standards diplomacy requires.

This incident is relevant to the sovereignty of the Republic of China and affects the legal rights of Taiwanese fishermen, Jiang reiterated. The ROC government thanks its citizens for rallying around this cause regardless of their political affiliation, and it calls on them to remain united in their support for the government as it continues to press the Philippines for a commitment to meeting Taiwan's demands.

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