By Jiawei Liu
On Saturday the Philippines rejected Taiwan’s claim that one of its fisherman who was killed by Philippine coastguards on May 9 was “murdered”.
Taiwan reacted angrily after the death of the fisherman, recalling its diplomatic envoy from Manila, and refusing applications from Filipinos looking for work in Taiwan. The Taiwanese navy has also held drills near Philippine waters.
According to South China Morning Post:
Chen Wen-chi, head of the Taiwan team investigating the May 9 incident, said most of the bullets had hit the fishing boat’s cockpit where its crew hid.
“By combining the… evidence, it clearly shows that the Philippine law enforcers were intentionally shooting the Guang Ta Hsin 28 crew members, which indicates their intent of murder,” Chen told a news conference in Manila.
The shooting, which Manila insists occurred inside Philippine territorial waters but which Taipei counters happened within its exclusive economic zone, has led to Taiwanese sanctions against its neighbour.
President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman Ricky Carandang rejected the murder allegations.
“There is an investigation ongoing so any premature statements that tend to confuse the issues and inflame passions should be avoided,” Carandang told AFP.
Manila has warned its 87,000 nationals who work in Taiwan to stay indoors after a Filipino man was allegedly hospitalised in a baseball bat attack in Kaohsiung city.
President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan on Friday described last week’s shooting as a “cold-blooded murder,” the Taiwanese national news agency CNA reported.
Ma has so far deemed the Philippine response to the killing to be unsatisfactory. His government has demanded that Manila make a formal apology, compensate the losses, investigate and punish those responsible, and start talks between the two countries on a fishing agreement.
The Philippine government, meanwhile, has started to show frustration with the Taiwanese stance.
“We did what a decent member, a respectable member of the international community should have done,” Edwin Lacierda, a spokesman for President Benigno Aquino III, said Thursday. “We have gone the extra mile.”
But Garfie Li, a spokeswoman for Ma, said Lacierda’s comments about going the extra mile were “were untrue and totally unacceptable,” according to CNA.
China has been clear on its support for Taiwan over this issue. It has demanded Manila launch an investigation to find the truth as quickly as possible and punish those responsible.
China and the Philippines have a frosty diplomatic relationship because of ongoing territorial disputes between the two nations.