Manila envoy set to apologise for shooting of Taiwanese fisherman

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 9:41pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 August, 2013, 1:52am

The Philippines will send a special envoy to Taiwan to apologise for the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman, his daughter said yesterday, signalling a potential breakthrough in a major row.

The remarks sparked hopes that the conciliatory move, if realised, could ease the strained relationship between Taipei and Manila following the shooting of 65-year-old Hung Shih-cheng on May 9 in disputed waters.

"The Filipino side has agreed to apologise to us in a public manner," Hung Tzu-ching, the fisherman's daughter, said in Pingtung city, adding that the agreement was made with lawyers authorised by the Philippine government.

"They have agreed to send a special envoy [over the matter] ... we insist the representative must represent the Filipino government. They will let us know in advance who will be appointed. If we feel the designated representative is OK, then the time will be decided," she said.

A presidential spokeswoman in Manila said she had no immediate confirmation of any such move.

Taiwan's foreign ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao said the dispute was being processed through diplomatic channels and the results would be released when "the timing becomes mature".

A Philippine envoy had previously flown to Taipei to deliver an apology but it was rejected because Taiwanese authorities insisted he was not authorised by Manila to do so.