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.