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Philippines’ investigation on killing of a Taiwan fisherman

Taiwan’s response to Philippines’ investigation on the killing of a Taiwan fisherman

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday it will recommend that the government lift its sanctions against Manila, once the Philippines meets Taiwan's demands regarding an incident in May in which a Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead by Philippines coast guard personnel.

Deputy Foreign Minister Joseph Shih made the statement at a news conference in Taipei, held jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice to release a report on Taiwan's investigation into the incident.

As agreed between the two sides, the Philippines' National Bureau of Investigation also released its findings on the incident the same day. It recommended that eight Filipino officers on the patrol vessel be charged with homicide.

Hung Shih-cheng, a 65-year-old fisherman from the southern Taiwan county of Pingtung, was killed when the Philippine patrol vessel opened fire on the fishing boat May 9 in an overlapping exclusive economic zone of the two countries.

Shih said the Philippine Department of Justice has promised that the charges will be filed against the eight officers as soon as possible.

The foreign ministry welcomes this development, and will recommend that the government lift its sanctions against Manila, once the Philippines keeps its promise to meet all four of Taiwan's demands, Shih said.

Taiwan had issued a list of four demands -- a formal apology, punishment of those responsible for the shooting, compensation for the Hung family and bilateral fishery talks to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future.

After Manila failed to meet the demands, Taiwan on May 15 imposed a series of punitive measures against the Philippines, including a ban on the further hiring of Filipino workers in Taiwan and the suspension of most bilateral exchanges.

Shih said the ministry has learned that the Hung family has reached an agreement on compensation with lawyers representing the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), the Philippines' representative office in Taiwan.

"MECO Chairman Amadeo Perez Jr., serving as an envoy of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, will visit Taiwan soon to explain his government's efforts in handling the case and to apologize publicly to the victim's family," Shih said.

He also noted that Taiwan and the Philippines agreed during a meeting in June that there should be no use of force in disputed waters and that a mechanism should be set up to inform each other of any fishery incidents.

ENDS

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