DIPLOMACY

Lai Tung-kwok

'Improper' for Hong Kong to boycott Manila over Taiwan fisherman's shooting

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 May, 2013, 12:02pm

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Security Secretary Lai Tung-kwok said it would be inappropriate for Hong Kong to take action against Manila over the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine coastguard.

Responding to a call on Saturday by Global Times, a hawkish Communist Party mouthpiece, for Hong Kong and Macau to join a boycott of the Philippines, possibly through tourism and trade, Lai said: "Taiwan has taken a series of actions [in response to the incident], but I think some of these actions would not be appropriate for Hong Kong.

"Hong Kong is a free society, so I think that people's full expression about the incident can lend support to our Taiwan compatriots."

Lai nevertheless urged Manila to investigate the incident fairly and thoroughly "in order to give justice to the deceased", adding that he believed he was also speaking for "my colleagues and Hongkongers".

Meanwhile, the Philippines was waiting for tempers in Taiwan to cool before resolving the dispute over the fisherman's death, Amadeo Perez, chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office, said yesterday.

Perez said issues such as Manila's "one-China" policy - recognising the mainland's sovereignty over Taiwan - and Taiwanese investigators' branding of the killing as murder had complicated the situation.

"We should wait for the temperature in Taiwan to cool," Perez said, "The Taiwanese are highly emotional and ... the media in Taiwan are heating things up, so tempers are running high."

Hung Shih-cheng, 65, was shot dead by Filipino coastguard officers on May 9 as his 15-tonne trawler was fishing in waters where the "exclusive economic zones" claimed by both Taipei and Manila overlap.

Taiwan consequently enacted 11 retaliatory measures against the Philippines. They include halting the hiring of Filipino workers, imposing barriers to tourism, recalling its envoy from Manila and demanding that the Philippines' representative return home.

 

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