It is most unfortunate that the government of Taiwan has suspended the issuance of visas to Filipinos intending to either work or visit their island. The suspension was in reaction to the unfortunate killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in contested waters a few days ago.
The emotional reaction is understandable because Taiwan considers itself the aggrieved party. But Taiwan-Philippine relations have always been excellent, and there is no reason why they should not continue to remain so.
Sooner or later, the incident will be seen in its proper perspective. The PCG was only doing its job, and had no intention of inflicting harm, much less causing the death, of the fisherman from Taiwan. A representative from the Philippine government has already visited the family of the victim to offer condolences and to explain why the country had to act the way it did.
The Taiwanese should understand the Philippines’ situation vis-à-vis its territorial waters. China, for one, has been aggressively asserting its claim on Philippine territory in recent months and taking no action against perceived threats is not an acceptable option.
Unlike China, Taiwan may be easier to talk to where territorial conflicts are concerned.
One tragic event should not permanently strain Philippine-Taiwan relations.