China media: Taiwan measures against Manila

Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin announcing fresh against the Philippines
Image caption Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin was criticised in some local reports over an apparent U-turn

Media in Taiwan and mainland China welcome Taipei's second wave of measures against the Philippines over the fatal shooting of a fisherman on 9 May.

A bilingual editorial by Beijing's Global Times applauds Taiwan's latest measures as a "second front" for the Chinese to stand up to neighbours in territorial disputes.

"The Chinese mainland should give moral support and extensive co-ordination to Taiwan's just move. We should encourage Taiwan to take the lead role in this incident while never shirking our responsibility," it says.

However, Taipei's United Daily News blasts Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin for "misleading" the public by "whitewashing" Philippine envoy Antonio Basilio's apology on behalf of the people of the Philippines - rather than the Philippine government.

At a press conference at 1 am (local time) yesterday after five hours of negotiations, the foreign minister recognised the Philippines' "positive response". But later that day, the Taiwan government rejected Manila's response as insincere, Taipei Times notes.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference held yesterday morning fully shows that we are a jellyfish country led by a jellyfish government... No wonder there are many messages on the internet satirising the foreign minister as Basilio's translator," Taipei's Apple Daily comments.

While welcoming the new measures against an "insincere" Philippines, Want Daily calls for regular military drills to protect fishermen.

"A tussle between China and the US lies hidden behind negotiations between Taiwan and the Philippines," it adds.

Apple Daily and Want Daily also see a geopolitical "China-US tussle" behind the dispute.

Taipei's Liberty Times also says Manila's close relations with the US are complicating matters. It warns that the Taiwan government must seek an investigation by an international impartial third party to cool down growing populist discontent among the public.

In Hong Kong, Beijing-backed newspaper Ta Kung Pao accuses the US government of backing the Philippines in territorial disputes. It urges Taiwan to seek help from the mainland in territorial disputes with neighbouring countries.

"The Philippines and its ilk of rogue countries are perpetrating all kinds of evil in the South China Sea, East China Sea and elsewhere with the connivance of the US. The US should be similarly condemned," another Hong Kong Beijing-backed newspaper Wen Wei Po says.

However, Taiwan and mainland analysts tell Hong Kong's South China Morning Post that Beijing is more likely to offer indirect and subtle support to Taiwan to avoid triggering concerns from Washington and giving opposition parties a pretext to accuse Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou of being too close to the mainland.

Airline hoax threats

Guangzhou Daily, Beijing Times and other newspapers are calling for tougher reprisals against hoax security threats after false telephone threats against three Chinese airliners led to the grounding of five flights around the country yesterday.

A commentary in People's Daily welcomes a government emergency notice holding officials responsible for mass protests against illegal and forcible land grabs. However, it says many similar orders have been routinely ignored by local authorities.

Caixin says the number of bloody conflicts against land takeovers is reaching worrying levels because of weak property rights and the country's rapid industrialisation and urbanisation.

In the last few days, a media uproar has continued over suspicions that police are shielding a primary school head teacher and local government housing department official in Wanning city, Hainan.

The two men have been dismissed from their posts and arrested on suspicion of spending the night in hotel rooms with six primary school girls last week.

In response to the controversy over the case, Changjiang Daily warns of a new trend of "local protectionism" where local governments, media and judiciary often join forces to withhold or cover-up information to protect the region's image.

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