Taiwan, Philippines Diplomatic Crisis: Taiwan Still Dissatisfied, Imposes Additional Sanctions on the Philippines

  on May 16 2013 1:42 PM

Calling the belated apology of the Philippines unacceptable, Taiwan announced late Wednesday that it has decided to impose additional sanctions on the Philippines for the death of one Taiwanese fisherman last week.

Hung Shih Cheng, a 65-year-old, was shot dead on May 9 after a Philippine patrol boat opened fire on a Taiwanese fishing vessel carrying Hung and three others. The incident happened in disputed waters southeast of Taiwan and north of the Philippines.

Until a satisfactory response from Manila is available, Taiwan is imposing more sanctions including a travel advisory discouraging Taiwanese citizens to visit the Philippines and the conduct of military exercises in South China Sea.

Earlier, Taiwan had already ordered the suspension of work applications of Filipino overseas workers and recalled its envoy in Manila following an apology by a Philippine representative in Taipei. The apology, which exceeded the 72-hour deadline, was declined by Taiwan leader Jiang Yi-Huah describing it as lacking in "sincerity" and saying it didn't come from a high enough official..

The additional sanctions stem from Taiwan's dissatisfaction of the Philippines' response to the incident. According to BBC's Cindy Sui, Mr. Jiang took particular offense to the statement of Philippine President Benigno Aquino that the shooting was an "unfortunate and unintended loss of life."

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement that President Aquino had already sent Manila Economic and Cultural Office Chairman Amadeo Perez as his personal representative to "convey his and the Filipino people's deep regret and apology" to the fisherman's family."

The Taiwanese leader is demanding a more satisfactory explanation why an unidentified fishing boat had to be fired on 32 times resulting to the death of one fisherman. He also repeated previous demands that the family of the slain fisherman be justly compensated and a joint inquiry on the incident be conducted so that those responsible get punished.

Mr. Jiang also asked that bilateral talks be made between the two countries on territorial and fishing rights.

Meanwhile, in Manila, Mr. Lacierda said that a probe had already commenced and that the Philippine government is dedicated to a "thorough, exhaustive, impartial and expeditious investigation".

"We understand the grief and hurt of the family and of the people of Taiwan over this unfortunate loss and we empathise with them," he said in a statement.

The spokesperson appealed to the Taiwan government not to involve the Filipino expatriates who are merely "working for an honest living" on the island.

At present there are around 88,000 Filipino migrant workers in Taiwan employed mostly in the manufacturing industry.

According to records, around 3,000 work applications from the Philippines are being processed by Taiwan's labour office each month.

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea have escalated in recent months with overlapping claims from countries such as China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines.

These have been long standing but China's recent move to further assert its presence in the area has caused increased tension with its neighbouring countries.

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