Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tension between Taiwan and The Philippines

A hot issue between many East Asian countries has been who owns which islands which lie between the various countries.  This is an especially divisive (dividing/separating) issue among the various countries. 

Recently when the government of Japan 'purchased' an island from individuals who had been living there (in an attempt to stop extreme Japanese nationalists from purchasing the island), the Chinese government became irate (very angry) and there were many protests in China against Japan.  Many Japanese businesses were vandalized (the property was destroyed or damaged) and many Chinese people stopped buying Japanese goods. 

A famous example of a heated disagreement concerning islands has been Korea's claim that it owns an island which it calls Dokdo, but which Japan claims to own and which it calls Takeshima.  The instance above concerns islands China refers to as the Diaoyu Islands while Japan refers to the same islands as being a part of their territory, calling them the Senaku Islands.

Sometimes three or more Asian countries can be involved in disputes concerning various islands that lie between the various countries.  Some islands seem to be claimed by Vietnam, The Philippines, China and Taiwan at the same time.

Recently a Filipino sailor from the Philippine Coast Guard did the unthinkable - he shot a 65 year old Taiwanese fisherman and killed him.  Here is a photo of the man who was shot. The person next to the photo is the president of Taiwan.

Even though the Philippines finally issued an apology, the government of Taiwan does not seem satisfied.  It could be that the government of Taiwan is using this situation for political purposes now, but it also seems necessary for Taiwan to take strong action to make sure this does not happen again.

The article:

Vocabulary with simple definitions:

tension - stress; there might be a feeling of tension between two people if they don't like each other or if they disagree with each other.

a dispute - a disagreement

to impose sanctions - if one country imposes sanctions on another, it provides some type of economic punishment in regard to the other country.  "To impose on" means "to force on." A 'sanction' is a type of punishment.

a rift - a separation, a disagreement that moves two groups or people farther apart

the initiation - the beginning

oscillating - changing directions; if one oscillates a lot, one changes his/her mind a lot

a visa waiver program - a waiver means that something normally required will not be required.  For instance, in the USA, if a student is too poor to pay for an SAT test, the testing company will waive his fee.  So a visa waiver program is a program that waives the need for a visa to enter a country.

bilateral - it affects both sides

aviation - flying

to implement - to start something, to put something in place

compensation - a monetary (money)  amount given to someone

sincerity - you are sincere if you really mean something, if you are genuine about something

sloppy - messy, not organized.  If a person is wearing sloppy clothing, the clothing is not neat, and does not look nice because it hasn't been taken care of.  If a person is a sloppy eater, food might fall out of his mouth as he/she eats.


1) What do you think the Philippines should do in this matter?  Initially they claimed the fishing boat was deliberately interfering with their Coast Guard ship.

2)  Do you think Taiwan is making a big deal out of this situation?

If you like art, you might like my new blog about artists who show their work in New York City:
Yes, I'm also the guy who created the scandal in Asia awhile ago. :P

Yes, I'm the guy who wrote the very funny ESL bookNew York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway.

If this page is useful to you, please buy the book (it's quite inexpensive and useful!!!!). If you don't have an e-reader, drop me a line at and I'll send you a free copy via Word file. Let me know whether you have Word 2010 or an earlier version.

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