Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s reiteration of the “one China” principle on Monday in his first public comment about the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by a Philippine government vessel has drawn ire from Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who yesterday slammed the Philippines for giving the incident a political tinge.
“The incident had nothing to do with the ‘one China’ model,” Wang said in response to media queries on Aquino’s comment.
In a chance interview with reporters after casting his vote in the country’s general midterm elections on Monday, Aquino commented on the death of 65-year-old Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成), who was killed on Thursday last week when a joint patrol of the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources opened fire on his boat in contested waters.
According to the Philippines’ GMA News, Aquino said the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) will be the lead agency in charge of the issue, in accordance with the “one China” policy.
“I asked the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to monitor, but the lead person has to be MECO because of the ‘one China’ policy,” he was quoted as saying in a comment apparently directed to the repeated calls made by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration that Manila offer Taipei a government-to-government apology.
The Republic of China has a representative office in the Philippines, which serves exactly the same functions as an embassy in the absence of formal diplomatic relatios between the two countries, Wang said yesterday.
“The Philippines can’t treat us this way,” Wang added.
Separately yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said that Aquino’s adherence to the “one China” principle means that Taiwan should not accept an apology from the Philippine government since the policy belittles Taiwanese sovereignty.
“The Philippines’ insistence on following the ‘one China’ policy should be the end of the story, because this principle is contemptuous of Taiwan’s sovereignty,” DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said.
Aquino’s comment was reminiscent of a diplomatic row between the two countries in February 2011 in which the Philippines — under Aquino — deported 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects from the Philippines to China. Manila said at the time thaat the deportations were made in compliance with the country’s “one China” policy.
The suspects’ extradition to China caused an outcry in Taiwan, but the Aquino administration stuck by the Manila court’s ruling to deport the Taiwanese suspects, saying the decision was “proper.”
Additional reporting by Chris Wang