Taipei sets PH against One-China diplomacy

Taipei is using the death of a Taiwanese fisherman off Batanes Island last week as a basis for making tough demands that will force the Philippines to violate its One-China policy, a former chairman of the congressional committee on foreign affairs said on Thursday.

“Taiwan saw an opportunity to push for recognition as a country instead of just an economic state. Taiwan is pushing us to violate the One-China policy,” former Negros Occidental representative Apolinario Lozada said.

But the House foreign affairs committee chairman said the government must review its One-China policy and convene the National Security Council to discuss security measures resulting from the shooting, which could develop into a diplomatic crisis.

Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara said MalacaƱang appeared “clueless” on how to handle the incident, and the hands of the Department of Foreign Affairs are tied because of the One-China policy, which considers Taiwan as just an economic state.

“We have to look at the ramifications of that kind of a foreign policy. It is time to reassess the government’s foreign policy,” Bichara said.

The fisherman was killed last May 9 when his boat strayed into Philippine waters. Taiwan rejected an apology from President Aquino and snubbed the Filipino envoy he sent to Taipei.

Premiere Jiang Yi-huah announced sanctions against Manila, including removal of the Philippines from its visa-waiver program. More than 80,000 Filipinos work in Taiwan.

Bichara said the One-China policy had resulted in foreign policy blunders, and the first one was sending to China the Taiwanese nationals caught poaching in Philippine seas a few years ago, which angered both the Chinese and Taiwanese governments.

“How many more blunders do we need before we finally decide to reassess the One-China policy?” he said.

“In the meantime, what is the Palace doing? Why is the NSC not being reconvened? It is incumbent upon President Aquino to gather the NSC member for brainstorming,” he said.

The NSC is composed of the President, Vice President, executive secretary, and Cabinet members. Former presidents are also members.

“Our constituents are asking us. We cannot simply say it is all up to the President. We have to have some explanations that we can give to our people. What are our options? What are the possible scenarios? The people demand to know,” Bichara said.

He said the Palace must allow Congress to get involved and the people must be assured of their safety in case another country attacked the Philippines.

“The reason we need to reassess the foreign policy is to avoid military confrontations with our neighbors. Let’s face it. They are more equipped military-wise than us. Our fishermen, as well as theirs, don’t know where the border is onshore,” Bichara said.

He said Congress must be involved because there were other issues as well, such as the Spratly’s dispute with China, the Sabah claim with Malaysia, and now the One-China policy.

Lozada said Aquino should consider sending former President Fidel Ramos to Taiwan as his special envoy.

“It will be a win-win solution. The former president, because of his stature, cannot be rejected by Taiwan. And since he is already a private citizen, we will not be violating the One-China policy,” Lozada said.


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