Ma urges Manila to
allow joint probe
ONE-SIDED: The president told officials to
continue negotiating with the Philippines on a probe into the shooting incident
after a team sent to Manila made little progress
By Mo Yan-chih and Rich Chang / Staff reporters, with CNA
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)
Legislator Lu Shiow-yen, holding microphone, leads members of the public in a
protest against the Philippine government on the Jingguo Boulevard Parkway in
Greater Taichung yesterday. The protesters demanded that the Philippines make an
official apology for the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman and called on members
of the public to lodge a protest on the US White House Web site.
Department of International and
Cross-Strait Legal Affairs Director Chen Wen-chi yesterday shows a statement by
Philippine Representative to Taiwan Antonio Basilio at a press conference at the
Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Manila, the Philippines.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday
instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice to
continue negotiating with the Philippines to conduct a joint investigation into
the fatal shooting of 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成) by
Philippine Coast Guard personnel, calling for both sides to adopt a pragmatic
attitude to unveil the truth behind the incident.
“President Ma believes that the incident requires both sides to cooperate with
each other on the investigation pragmatically, and only by doing so can the
truth be revealed,” Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) told a
press conference last night after the conclusion of a meeting on national
security that Ma had attended.
Taiwan and the Philippines have been engaged in a diplomatic tussle since a
joint patrol of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and
Aquatic Resources shot at the unarmed Taiwanese fishing boat the Kuang Ta Hsing
No. 28 while it operated in the two countries’ overlapping economic zones s on
A Taiwanese investigative team returned from Manila yesterday after making
little headway in its probe. The delegation — consisting of prosecutors and
officials from the justice and foreign ministries, and Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency
— had arrived in Manila on Thursday.
They tried to work with Philippine government officials to set up a joint
investigation into the incident, but failed to reach a consensus.
After the Taiwanese team returned yesterday without having made any progress, Ma
called for the continuation of talks between the two nations, saying that the
incident was an opportunity for Taiwan and the Philippines to implement the
mutual legal assistance agreement they signed earlier this year.
Lee said that Ma had asked the foreign and justice ministries to seek a
consensus with Manila based on the principle of reciprocity.
She stressed that the negotiations had not failed and said the government’s
investigation team would continue its efforts to find the truth when the
Philippines is “ready.”
Yesterday’s national security meeting was the third one held since last week.
Earlier yesterday, at a news conference at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
held shortly after the delegation’s return, Chen Wen-chi (陳文琪), head of the
Ministry of Justice’s Department of International and Cross-Strait Legal
Affairs, said the delegation had made some progress on initiating a judicial
investigation with the Philippine Department of Justice, but that further
negotiations were needed.
In addition, citing the navigational record of the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, Chen
said that the incident had occurred while the boat was in Taiwan’s exclusive
economic zone and that it had not entered the Philippines’ territorial waters.
Taiwanese investigators’ findings contradict the Philippines’ claims that the
shots were fired in self-defense after the Taiwanese boat tried to ram it, she
Chen said Taiwan has expressed to the Philippines that it hopes to put the
people thought to be responsible for the shooting on trial. If the Philippines
is disinclined to grant this request, Taipei has asked it to severely punish the
Before the delegation returned to Taiwan, Chen had told an international news
conference in Manila that the Philippines’ attitude on a joint investigation was
“capricious” and “dishonest.”
Reading a prepared statement, Chen said that Philippine Representative to Taiwan
Antonio Basilio had expressed Manila’s willingness to conduct a joint
investigation into the incident and that Taiwan had made requests for mutual
judicial assistance to the Philippines before the team had departed for Manila.