Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blame the pirates, not Washington

Taiwanese officials who are growing impatient with the US over the death of a Taiwanese ship captain earlier this year should think twice before lodging accusations

Taiwan is no stranger to the threat posed by piracy at sea and the death of captain Wu Lai-yu (吳來于) last month during a gun battle between NATO and Somali pirates, who were keeping him captive on his ship, is a stark reminder of that reality.

Since the incident was made public, Taiwanese authorities and fishermen’s organizations have become increasingly vocal in their claims that US and NATO authorities have failed to provide a full account of what went wrong during the operation against the hijacked Jih Chun Tsai No. 68.

While it is perfectly reasonable for Wu’s family and Taiwanese authorities to expect answers on the matter, Wu’s accidental death should not be used to drive a wedge between Taipei and Washington, which it threatens to do as senior Taiwanese officials signal their impatience.

Unfortunate as Wu’s death may be, we should not forget that ultimately it was the Somali pirates, and not the officers on board the USS Stephen W. Groves or NATO members involved in counterpiracy efforts, who bear responsibility for his death. Had Somali pirates not broken international law and hijacked his vessel, Wu would be alive today, and no amount of finger pointing or proclamations of patience running short will resuscitate him.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.


mike said...

"Had Somali pirates not broken international law and hijacked his vessel, Wu would be alive today..."

Wu's vessel was neither armed, nor carried any profesionally trained and armed security did it?

Dealing with Somali pirates ought to be simple: kill them - it's nothing but self-defence.

Taiwanese ought to start thinking about taking care of their own maritime security.

Jerome Besson said...

Vociferous widows and headlines going “Taiwan mobs sack AIT” in the offing?

Now as in May 1957, the forever plotting Chinese ON Taiwan are feeling threatened enough to resort to that well honed ROC trick.

The background issue?

Have you noticed that blurb about construction works somewhere threatening hazard to pedestrians and hindering traffic?

There. You have your clue. I'll leave it for your flair to figure out. If you have not guessed yet, it will be front page soon enough.

Okami said...

Considering Taiwan's well known penchant for fish poaching this is funny. They used to do it in the Falklands till they finally managed to get a gun on one of their boats and shot one fleeing Taiwanese fishing vessel.

You have to wonder how smart the captain was to be fishing in waters near a known pirate hotspot.

Funny how they fail to mention the fish poaching, but are chest thumping over his death.