News / Asia

Taiwan Begins Military Drills Near Philippines

Taiwan's navy load Standard Type II surface-to-air missiles on the rear of a Kidd-class destroyer during exercises off of the southern city of Kaohsiung,Taiwan, May 16, 2013.
Taiwan's navy load Standard Type II surface-to-air missiles on the rear of a Kidd-class destroyer during exercises off of the southern city of Kaohsiung,Taiwan, May 16, 2013.
VOA News
A diplomatic dispute between Taiwan and the Philippines intensified Thursday, as Taipei began a military exercise in the disputed waters between both countries.

The air and naval drills in the Bashi Channel come a week after the Philippines Coast Guard shot dead a 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman, prompting outrage in Taiwan.


The family of the fisherman and Taiwanese officials have refused to meet the Philippine president's personal representative who was sent to Taiwan to apologize for the death.

Taiwan's premier Jiang Yi-huah rejected the apology of President Benigno Aquino because it referred to the shooting as "unfortunate" and "unintentional." Taiwan also rejected an earlier statement of regret by a lower-ranking official.

Taiwan has imposed sanctions on the Philippines, including recalling its envoy to Manila and freezing job permits for Philippines workers.

A State Department spokesman says the U.S. is concerned by increased tensions between two neighboring democracies and close American allies. It urges both to clarify disagreements and ensure maritime safety.

The Philippines Coast Guard said it was acting in self-defense in last Thursday's incident, because it said the fisherman's boat was about to ram the coast guard vessel. Taiwan has rejected those charges.

Taiwan and the Philippines, along with Brunei, China, Malaysia, and Vietnam all have competing claims to parts of the sea, which may be rich in oil and natural gas.

  • A helicopter takes off from the stern of a Taiwanese Lafayette frigate during exercises off the southern city of Kaohsiung,Taiwan, May 16, 2013.
  • An officer flashes hand signals to a passing helicopter from the stern of a Taiwanese Kidd-class destroyer during exercises off the southern city of Kaohsiung,Taiwan, May 16, 2013.
  • A crew member keeps an eye on the horizon at dawn during exercises off the southern city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, May 16, 2013.
  • Taiwan naval personnel take part during a joint military drill on a Kidd-class destroyer outside a naval base in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, May 15, 2013.

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by: Sean Huang from: Taiwan
May 17, 2013 9:02 AM
You guys have to know. Both coast-guard ship and fishboat are moving. When you want to shoot from a moving coast-guard ship to a moving fishboat, and eventually around 50 shots over the fishboat, how many bullets totally you have to shoot from the coast-guard ship? I can say reasonably more than 500 bullets!!! What the fxxking good reason you have to shoot an unarmed fishboat for more than 500 bullets? Can I say this must be bloody massacre of Philippine to innocent Taiwan civilians?!

by: Jeff from: Taiwan
May 17, 2013 7:02 AM
1.It happened in disputed/mutual waters,not Philippine.
2.Taiwanese vessel did "not" rammed the Bureau of Fisheries And Aquatic Resources(BFAR).
3.Excessive use of firepower.
In Response

by: kingrobertscot from: Hong Kong
May 17, 2013 10:47 PM
@ Leif Disputed meaning overlapping. Province, signatory ... what's that got to do with the price of fish?
In Response

by: Leif from: canada
May 17, 2013 1:41 PM
the fishermen were deep in philippine waters, even taiwanese coast guard confirms it;and by the way, on what basis it's disputed anyway - taiwan is not sigantory to UNCLOS - for UN, taiwan is a province

by: Keith from: USA
May 17, 2013 2:04 AM
I have been following up development in both south and east China sea. Bumping of ships are very common to intimidate foreign ships in that area. So obvious that Taiwan's fisherman fishing 500 miles away from their land and I heard the word bumping again. Sad to hear that they cannot even accept apologies. Now in matter of hours they are doing military exercise just within reach to the shore of the Philippines. It is very sad that peace in not in their priorities.
In Response

by: kingrobertscot from: Hong Kong
May 17, 2013 11:55 PM
@ Keith FYI - 1) There were 4 different versions of the "apology letter" offered to the ROC. PHI changed its content every single time the ROC objected to its questionable wording; 2) The letterhead of the "apology letter" (with no official logo) was from the Philippines representative office in Taipei and NOT Aquino himself. In truth, the "Presidential apology" was half-cocked. The question we have to ask ourselves here is, is that the best Aquino could muster? A half-cocked apology? Is it acceptable at all? My own sentiment is that If Aquino wants to do things by half, he might as well not apologise at all.
In Response

by: Fergus from: New Zealand
May 17, 2013 7:15 PM
Hi Keith: please do not make a joke in this serious matter. I just checked the Google map. the distance between south of Taiwan and north point of Philippine is only around (or less) 500KM. what did you mean Taiwan's fisherman fishing 500 miles away from their land. If you have no enough knowledge. just do not show of the foolish to public. second question! do you agree people fire 50 shoots to you if you even did not step into their gate of front yard? or can you give any standard law of International that any country's CG can shoot a unarmed boat? what a joke by you!

by: Anonymous
May 17, 2013 12:56 AM
please philippine government urge release shooting record to all , don't misleader all people's into falling to wrong area

by: Anonymous
May 16, 2013 10:30 PM
No matter what, no one has right to kill person especially when a person without arm.
I think the reason that Taiwan government could not accept their apology is because Pilipino attitude, their announcement did not articulate why they could abandon themselves to kill person. Facing a fish boat without arm, they could eject or disperse in any way they think is safe, but not just emitted over 56 bullets to kill person. Anyone who has a basic knowledge and education knows life is priceless that we all need to respect; I condemn and cannot condone killers.

by: Anonymous from: Canada
May 16, 2013 8:46 PM
Condolences to my fellow countryman that was killed in this unfortunate dispute, however, this instance has became nothing more than the current Taiwanese president using it to divert media attention from his corrupted government and historic low approval rate. Too bad for the neighboring Philippine, we (I am Taiwanese living abroad) could carry out this “drills” at your doorstep only because you have a near none existence navy. But don’t feel too bad, on the grand scheme, this dispute is really insignificant. Do you know how hard it was for me to dig out any news reporting regarding this instance on the web? Try a search of it on Google, and you’ll understand. The only places that have substantial reporting are the Taiwanese news outlets, which echoes my point from the beginning.

This is JUST a diversion of Taiwanese people’s attention. How many times in the past we have fellow Taiwanese getting mistreatment abroad and the government did nothing? Also, fear not of those Taiwanese “warships” my Pilipino neighbor, even if they try to fire at you, not only it likely will miss you, but also not all guns would actually fire. Anyone who had served in the Taiwanese military, including myself, knows exactly what I am talking about. I know I sound sour and even a bit coldhearted, but isn’t this how truth usually is?

by: NoNoneSense from: WestSide
May 16, 2013 6:11 PM
No matter Chinese in China or Taiwan, these folks commonly are fish pirates!, islands pirates or the bad guys of Asia!
The Philippines people have to protect their own fish stocks against fish-thieves come from China or Taiwan to steal them in the daylight! I have nothing related to Philippines people but I definitely believe that these people do not steal fish from taiwan or china at all! but chinese from the both China and taiwan do! These folks are bad and cannot be trusted in any circumstance!
The USA MUST NEVER SELL WEAPONS TO TAIWAN IN ORDER TO AVOID SPIES IN TAIWAN TO GIVE SECRETS TO CHINA!056095
In Response

by: Cinnasu from: HongKong
May 18, 2013 2:45 PM
You have terrible prejudice on Taiwanese. Do you know who are the countries that ruled Taiwan? Hint: Dutch, Spain and Japan, not to mention the qing dynasty. Who have ever invaded China? Perhaps its your ancient! I recommend you at least read some basic idea of the history of Taiwan before making this kind of comment and then tell people who do you think is the pirates. Don't be fooled by your believe with no basis.
In Response

by: Anonymous
May 17, 2013 1:32 PM
Yes, Taiwanese go fishing and Philippines went on killing spree. At least Taiwanese are not murderous like Philippines. 50 holes on a harmless fishing boat, Phillippines government really need to answer that. Plus, your government only know how to stall, disrespectful and cowardice.
In Response

by: Anonymous
May 17, 2013 11:54 AM
do you have any evidence of what you are saying. please do not make any commends when you have no knowledge of.

by: SEATO
May 16, 2013 2:48 PM
Condolences to the victim's family! One thing I need to remind everyone here is,all these troubles were started by the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1937 when they unilaterally and deliberately copied some European marine maps,gave Chinese names to many islands in the South China Sea,and claimed them to be Chinese territories,despite the fact that most of them were under Vietnamese jurisdiction and administration at the time.After defeating and driving the nationalists from mainlain China,Communist China claim 80% of the South China Sea,which include most of these islands.They have recently asserted their territorial claim by attacking and murdering hundreds of Vietnamese fishermen incold blood,in their own waters.Did the mainland Chinese or the Taiwanese really care? No,they didn't. On the other hand they hailed those barbaric actions as the effective way to intimidate the Vietnamese into giving up marine territories.Now the Chinese Taiwanese are doing the same thing,having a show of force,to scare their neighbours into submission.It is pointless for America and India to condemn the use of force in solving territorial disputes.They must show their permanent presence in the area to let the world know that this is international waters and ensure that freedom of navigation is maintained
In Response

by: Anonymous
May 17, 2013 1:46 PM
Thats exactly what Philippine government is hoping for - With or without apologies, life goes on and very soon everything will be back to normal.

They will keep on stalling, delaying, they will not admit until this happens. They are simply trying to save their ownselves. Look, murder is murder and you won't get away from this.
In Response

by: Allies from: New York
May 17, 2013 4:26 AM
the sanctions and travel ban issued by the Taiwanese are plain bogus since they cannot survive without the filipino workers in Taiwan...well, look at the same thing that happened to the Hongkong tourists killed in a shootout in manila 2 years ago... the sanctions and the travel ban Hongkong issued were also bogus since Hongkong needs all those filipino workers to do their household job for them.... and people from hongkong actually never stopped travelling to Philippines. With or without apologies, life goes on and very soon everything will be back to normal.
In Response

by: Tearoom from: Taiwan
May 17, 2013 3:48 AM
As a Taiwanese, I want to tell you

1.You overestimated current Taiwan's government they are pushed by angry Taiwan people not for any benefit from South China Sea. If no people or no media care about this event the Taiwan's government will keeping do nothing just like before.

2. This event is simple and clear, we should keep focus on "Why Philippines coast guard killed Taiwan unarmed fisher at dispute sea ?" Dispute means IT IS NOT Philippines's territories sea.Besides, the fisher was unarmed, why killed him?.

3. Their apologize statement can not persuade us they apologize sincerely, they still insist this event was unintentional. It's means the murderer could avoid from judicial sanctions, it's not fair to the fisher's family.

4. Taiwan people love peace but we are really really angry now.
In Response

by: Anonymous
May 16, 2013 11:55 PM
Ridioulous statment. China and Taiwan are different countiries. Do not try to confuse people and tranfer China's bad deeds into Taiwan. Diffenrent countries, totally different policy OK?

Investigation also shows Philipne navy shot 52 bullets to unarmed fishing boat and no single sign of "ramming" on the boat. Now these Philipine coward are even afraid to present viedo as evidence and refuse to apologize officially.
It is quite obious who to blame, isn't it?

by: czaf from: usa
May 16, 2013 2:19 PM
It was mentioned that the Fishermans boat want to ram the Philippine Navy boat that is why is was shot and riddled with bullets to stop it happened in Philippine restricted waters.The Navy are trained soldiers not pirates . They do it for self defense. Taiwan is acting like some bully cause they think Philippines has no existing navy. Why dont they do it if the US drop a bomb on their civilians by mistake.
In Response

by: kingrobertscot from: Hong Kong
May 17, 2013 11:59 PM
@ czaf "They do it for self defense." - Self defence (with a c not an s) from what? Flying fish perhaps? I'm sorry but your excuse is lame and doesn't have a leg to stand on.
In Response

by: Anonymous
May 17, 2013 1:43 PM
This claim is simply crazy, justifying killing is correct because it is self-defense. This is just plain wrong. And why would a harmless fishing boat want to ram a Philippine navy? This is simply full of nonsense. Philippine trained navy will open fire at harmless civilians, and you justify this is the right thing to do. Are you out of mind?

A navy vessel bullet spray and hit the boat more than 50 times got one person killed, and their government is taking it lightly + disrespectfully, don't we deserve to be angry about this? Remember, not 1 bullet hole, 2 bullet holes...is 50 bullet holes with a civilian dead. What kind of self defense of that
So Philippine's trained Navy's logic is ahaha!! harmless fisherman approaches, kill them first because they will eat our navy.
In Response

by: Howard from: Thailand
May 16, 2013 10:47 PM
52 shots and a chase of more than one hour at a fisher boat is an "unintentional" act?!!! Not to mention that the size of the fisher boat is far smaller than the navy. Will you ram your sedan into a big truck?

That's totally nonsense! This corruption country had long lost control against its arm forces and permitting their arm forces to be pirates and robbers! This has to be STOP!
In Response

by: Fergus from: New Zealand
May 16, 2013 5:54 PM
50+ shoot is called self-defence? show the world any video or evidence? If not! So, if any Taiwaness navy warship sink a Philipino boat. They just tell the public because of that boat tried to RAM or ATTACK a much bigger (and armed) Taiwaness navy warship? The Philippine government only knows how to allow their coast guard to kindnap fishing vessel for US$ cash. A such poor country has nothing special to show off the world, but except arrogance. Philippine better piss off China too as I guess they have nothing to lose. Because they even cann't afford any modern or new jet fighter or warship. How can they lose?
In Response

by: James from: Canada
May 16, 2013 5:26 PM
This is the story from the people who fired the bullets. The other fishermen (one of which is not Taiwanese) on the Taiwanese fishing boat claims that they did not attempt to ram the navy boat. Also, almost all the shots were fired at the boat from the side, which makes it difficult to believe that the shots were fired when the PCG is in danger of being hit by the Taiwanese boat.
In Response

by: Anonymous
May 16, 2013 5:20 PM
Unfortunately the Philippine Navy acted like pirates targeting civilians. It has no gut facing ROC naval vessels.

by: Sing from: USA
May 16, 2013 1:33 PM
Let the game begin. Peace thru strength! Should looked at this shooting incident as criminal case. Act like Israel in the middleeast an eye for an eye. Diplomacy is only second to military.
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