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Taipei-Manila row: Where is it heading?

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Kor Kian Beng and Ho Ai Li

The Straits Times

Publication Date : 20-05-2013



The escalating dispute between Taiwan and the Philippines in the South China Sea may have set a dangerous precedent for future spats, say observers. If the row drags on, it could hurt Asean's reputation for resolving disputes, say others.

Still, some analysts believe the spat will have limited impact on how other claimant-states respond to future clashes.

The dispute arose over the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine coast guard on May 9 in waters claimed by both sides.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has rejected two apologies from Manila. Besides recalling its representative from Manila, Taipei has also suspended the hiring of new Filipino workers and urged Taiwanese not to visit the Philippines. Last Thursday, it held a military exercise in waters near where the fisherman was killed.

Singapore-based analyst Ian Storey noted that similar incidents in the past have also seen a claimant-state demanding a formal apology, investigations and compensation, but these demands have seldom been met.

"By imposing punitive economic measures on the Philippines, Taiwan has raised the bar and set a bad precedent by escalating the crisis," he said.

Taiwan and the Philippines, together with China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, all have overlapping claims to parts of the resource-rich South China Sea.

Professor Carl Thayer of the University of New South Wales is concerned about the use of firepower in the incident, which he believes to be the first in recent years to have resulted in death.

"The Philippines must undertake a thorough investigation and let the chips fall where they may," said the regional security expert.

There is also concern that Taiwan's assertive stance may be a signal of its desire to step up its claims in the South China Sea, where Beijing and Manila were involved in a stand-off over the Scarborough Shoal a year ago.

Professor Edward Chen of the Tamkang University said Taiwan will continue to be assertive to "make its neighbours think twice before trying to 'bully' Taiwan".

"We will not show off our military might, but if other countries bully us and climb over our heads, we will not stand for it," he said.

Asean members are watching the developments with concern. Indonesia, which seeks to play an active peacemaker role in the region, has not commented on the latest incident, which it views as a bilateral matter for now.

But Dr Dinna Wisnu, dean of Paramadina University's graduate school of diplomacy, thinks Jakarta should publicly urge the two sides to refrain from making moves that raise tensions further. This is because other countries are looking at how Asean's dispute-resolution mechanism deals with such cases, she added.

"Asean members should realise that (major powers) would easily take sides if tension keeps rising, which would only worsen the freedom of navigation in the region, and then escalate tension to an unprecedented level," she said.

Also worrying to some observers is the possibility of China and Taiwan joining forces to protect their sovereignty claims, which are similar in both the South China and East China seas.

Professor Thayer believes that they may pursue their territorial claims more assertively in parallel, without formal arrangements. For instance, China could tie talks on a binding Code of Conduct with Asean nations to the dispute by demanding that the Philippines agrees to Taiwan's demands.

"The present incident, if not properly managed and de-escalated, could be the harbinger of further clashes at sea," he added.

But Xiamen-based analyst Zhang Mingliang believes the likelihood of cross-strait collaboration is low, due to mutual security and military concerns across the Taiwan Strait.

National Dong Hwa University professor Shih Cheng-feng, who is closer to the opposition camp, believes that the Ma government's unusually assertive response is likely to be a one-off.

Ma, he noted, has had to act tough given his low approval ratings and with the first anniversary of his second term in office today.

Taiwan-based analyst Wong Ming-hsien also thinks there could be an upside if both sides can ink a pact to settle fishing rights in their disputed areas.

Fishery agreement talks are among the four demands Taiwan has made. The others are a formal apology, compensation and a thorough investigation and punishment for those who are guilty.

Analysts also believe the spat will not escalate into a conflict due to the United States' influence. Taipei is Washington's strategic partner and Manila, its ally.

As for the impact on other claimants, analyst Euan Graham of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore said it is unlikely they will adopt more assertive postures.

"The recent high-level rhetoric from China over the South China Sea appears to be more conciliatory, signalling that its focus is on the East China Sea," he said.

"Vietnam has also been more cautious, having observed the Philippines' actions."

 

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source : http://www.asianewsnet.net/Taipei-Manila-row-Where-is-it-heading-46918.html

Terakhir Diperbaharui ( Kamis, 15 Juni 2017 17:04 )
 

Diplomat: Anggota Kerajaan Perlu Didekati Selesaikan TKI

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Jakarta (Antara) - Diplomat senior Makarim Wibisono Ph.D. mengharapkan Pemerintah Indonesia tidak saja meminta bantuan pengacara tetapi juga para anggota keluarga kerajaan di negara-negara Teluk dan Timur Tengah sebagai mitra untuk membantu menyelesaikan masalah TKI.

 

"Para anggota kerajaan bisa didekati untuk menjadi mitra dalam menyelesaikan masalah yang dihadapi buruh migran asal Indonesia," kata Makarim kepada Antara di Jakarta, Ahad.

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Taiwan, PRC and the U.S.: Playing Their Games

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Developments in cross-strait relations over the past few years have attracted widespread attention. On the one hand, cross-straits trade and commercial ties are expanding and deepening, while on the other hand, Taiwan faces increasing political and security challenges. Occasional rises of security challenges affect both domestic and regional stability.

 

Terakhir Diperbaharui ( Kamis, 15 Juni 2017 17:06 ) Selanjutnya...
 

Kabut Asap dan Sengkarut Sektor Kehutanan Indonesia

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Oleh Bintang Krisanti – alumni Paramadina Graduate School of Diplomacy

 

 

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Pertengahan Juni lalu, hubungan Indonesia dengan dua negara tetangga itu memanas akibat 'ekspor' kabut asap dari tanah air.

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