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  • Updated: 9:35am
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MARITIME INCIDENT

Taipei slaps sanctions on Manila after weak apology

Attempted apology by Philippines over killing of Taiwanese fisherman rejected as 'insincere', leading to flexing of island's military muscle

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 9:03am

Taipei stepped up its diplomatic reprisals against Manila yesterday in protest at the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine coastguard last week.

First, it put a freeze on the hiring of Filipino workers and recalled its envoy in Manila.

Hours later, it suspended a host of exchanges with the Philippines and imposed barriers to tourism.

In a sign that it is flexing its military muscle over the incident, Taipei also sent two warships to join a flotilla of naval and coastguard vessels in a joint drill today.

The exercise will take place in waters near the overlapping "exclusive" economic zones of Taiwan and the Philippines. Taipei imposed the two rounds of sanctions yesterday after insisting that the Philippines had failed to show adequate sincerity in apologising for the death of fisherman Hung Shih-cheng.

He was killed when the Philippine coastguard shot at a small, unarmed fishing boat in contested waters last Thursday.

Taiwanese Premier Jiang Yi-huah said yesterday: "Although the Philippines has issued a statement expressing its deep regret and apology over the incident … we have found [the statement] totally unacceptable for its description of the death of Mr Hung as a case of unfortunate and unintended loss of life."

Although the Philippines has issued a statement expressing its deep regret and apology over the incident … we have found [the statement] totally unacceptable for its description of the death of Mr Hung as a case of unfortunate and unintended loss of life

Citing the many bullet holes all over the 15-tonne Taiwanese boat, Jiang said the shooting was far more than "unintentional", making it impossible for his government to accept the apology.

Philippine presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement that Philippine President Benigno Aquino had appointed Amadeo Perez as his personal envoy.

The statement said Perez would "convey … the Filipino people's deep regret and apology to the family of Mr Hung Shih-cheng as well as the people of Taiwan over the unfortunate and unintended loss of life".

Lacierda's statement was released to Taiwanese media by Perez after he was refused a meeting with Taiwanese Foreign Minister David Lin shortly after arriving in Taipei yesterday.

He was told he did not have "adequate authority" from the Philippine government.

The statement also said Manila was launching a top-level probe into the case. Perez had hoped the statement would be accepted by Taiwan and lead to an end to the sanctions.

But Taiwan's foreign ministry said the statement had not been signed by Aquino and had been issued only by his spokesman. This made Taiwan doubt whether Perez had sufficient authority and whether the Philippines was showing adequate sincerity.

Premier Jiang also said Manila had been "oscillating in its handling of the case", making it necessary for Taiwan to take further retaliatory actions in addition to the freezing of the hiring of Filipino workers earlier in the day.

The freeze was announced by Jiang in the first round of sanctions, which also included a demand that the Philippine representative to Taipei, Antonio Basilio, return to Manila.

The second round of eight retaliatory measures included issuing a red travel alert for the Philippines to discourage sightseeing or business trips. It also included the suspension of high-level exchanges, such as ministerial-level meetings and meetings on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, next week.

Taiwan also stopped issuing online visas for Filipinos. Last year about 200,000 Taiwanese visited the Philippines, while around 40,000 Filipinos visited the island. There are nearly 90,000 Filipino domestic helpers and other workers in Taiwan

Taiwan's military said it would hold regular military exercises in waters south of Taiwan.

A Kidd-class destroyer and a Lafayette-class frigate set sail from southern Taiwan to take part in a joint drill with the Taiwanese coastguard today.

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12

This article is now closed to comments

honger
Can the HK govt take a leaf from Ma's administration?
The greiving families from the bus tragedy are still suffering and hurting, as Aquino continues to ignore them.
We weep for our heroic tourist guide who gave his life selflessly and our helpless tourists who tried to escape (in vain) from the hail of bullets as Aquino failed to accord any urgency/priority to solve the impasse with the gunman. He then added insult to injury by laughing at the press conference after the tragedy happened.
We empathise with the family of the fisherman who tried to seek cover in the cabin (also in vain) from the hail of bullets fired from the Phillipine coastguards.
If it was an American/Japanese fisherman involved, would Aquino have reacted differently?
When will the HK govt take a leaf from Ma's administration?
oxymoron14.
Analysis make paralysis. I'll leave all the politics to the pros. If any one of you have any ideas of the dark side of Philippines culture and do allow me to make a generalization.
These people live off corruption and bribery. With low ethical and moral code and the majority is in poverty and in addition most of their leaders were eventually ousted from corruption charges, their future is bleak.
People are constantly in survival mode, all added to the fact that there is still a war going on in their borders, human values are low in priority. My older sibling owns a company there, have friends who had visited their gun factories ( you can purchase automatic weapons with cash and no questions asked ) they fed me with twisted and chilling tales of what makes the locals tick. In addition to my first hand witness that crime rates are world class in that country having seen guards with guns were assigned at door of shops selling Hello Kitty toys, it's not rocket science to arrive to a conclusion this is a very dysfunctional country.
I hate to say it but their mentality is like shoot first and ask questions later. I'm not discriminating against them but just stating the facts and such facts made it very clear where they stand on the social evolution ladder. Seeing is believing. Poverty and desperation defeat all the sum of rationals, morality and conscience.
joyoung
Premier Jiang, telling it like it is.
islemount
I've been reading many of the jingoistic 'fire-and-brimstone' comments from readers directed at the Filipino's, particularly the ones calling for the punishment to fall, ludicrous and unfairly, on the maids for this tragedy.
I would like to know where the similar outrage is for this: "A Taiwanese woman has been charged with human traf**** after allegedly sending hundreds of Cambodians to work in slave-like conditions on fishing boats off Africa."
Hypocrites. Frankly, I am ashamed by many of the comments I have seen over the past few days, and I would expect much more from the educated of this supposed "world class city."
lucifer
The fisherman were probably emboldened by Mainland belligerance.
tennisboy
Looks like Ma is using this opportunity to gain some political points for himself as well as a chance to finally parade the military toys they bought from the US--without having to antagonize China for doing so. Good for him.
oxymoron14.
Well as far as I remembered I passed my American history test back in high school. LOL and FYI there is no 2nd amendment in the Phillipines. Don't mean to be a cynic but many local laws can be superseded with the right amount of dough. The warehouse my friend visited requires no papers, ID or proof of having no priors. Cash is all you need. People with uniforms (police & military) are blatantly in patrol so that eliminates your doubts if this place is operated underground.
Carioca no Coracao
let me be a "voice of reason". both sides claim the area is theirs. dispute/disagreement is common in international relations. one can settle this with peaceful discussion and if discussion cannot resolve issues, double down on more peaceful discussion. that's how Ghandi, MLK achieved. but now you pulled guns and began killing... you painted the other side to a corner... no way out. by the way, this was not the first time when Filipino security personnel trigger happy. Philippines has yet to fully apologize to hong kong ppl for the tourists killed. so you have a pattern.
Carioca no Coracao
you have to study history dated back to 1900 to understand you said one can buy guns with cash, no question asked in philippines. same here in US. -:) so now you see the trend...
jayb
same here in US! you go to so called "gun show". you need no paper, ID or permit, just dineros and you can buy any gun you like. "gun shows" are exempted from any exiting gun laws, state and federal.
hungalooloo
These two incidents have no connection and should not be connected.
Carioca no Coracao
why always seeking govt help???!!!! DO IT YOURSELF!!!!
HKG ppl rejected "national education" successfully without govt. rallied 6/4 memorial marches without govt. clearly, you can start your own personal movement. you can launch your own boycott Philippines campaign. buy non Filippino fruits and produce. when you go vacationing, avoid Philippines. when you hire maids, hire Indonesian, Thai. start a social media page, spread the news, youtube etc...show some creativity. the May 4th pioneers never asked for govt. help.

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