Manila, Taipei discuss shooting
- Published: 20/05/2013 at 09:53 PM
- Online news:
MANILA — The Philippines said Monday that it would make "coordinated efforts" with Taiwan to look into the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman but stopped short of a joint investigation.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the two investigating groups would not conduct a joint probe into the shooting of the fisherman by the Philippine coastguard, despite repeated calls from Taiwan to do so.
Instead she said that investigators from both sides would help each other in separately looking into the incident that has strained ties between the two neighbours.
"There will be coordinated efforts or collaborations between the two teams from the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and Taiwanese counterparts in the spirit of cooperation," she told reporters.
She said members of the NBI, which is under her Justice Department, met with Taiwanese investigators on Monday regarding their cooperation, describing the meeting as a ''cordial discussion''.
The two teams are looking into the May 9 incident when a Philippine coastguard vessel fired upon a Taiwanese fishing boat, killing Hung Shih-cheng, a 65-year-old crewman.
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou has termed the killing ''cold-blooded murder'' while the coastguard said the fishing boat intruded into Philippine waters and that they were forced to open fire when it tried to ram their vessel.
De Lima said an NBI team would fly to Taiwan to examine the fishing boat and interview survivors while the Taiwanese investigators would be given access to their evidence, including statements from the coastguard workers.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino has personally apologised for the incident but Taiwan has rejected his apology and introduced sanctions on the Philippines.
The measures include a ban on the hiring of new workers, recalling its envoy and staging a naval drill in waters off the northern Philippines.
Taipei has repeatedly pressed Manila to issue a formal government apology, to compensate the fisherman's family and to apprehend the killer.
Philippine officials say the issue of a formal apology is complicated by the fact that Manila officially recognises Beijing over Taipei.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency