May 092013

Taiwan on Thursday demanded an apology from the Philippine government as it condemned the shooting of a Taiwanese fishing boat by a Philippine vessel. At least one fisherman was reported dead in the incident.

A report on Taiwan’s Central News Agency said Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the shooting came from an “official Philippine ship.”

Earlier, Beijing-based Xinhua News Agency reported on its website that  a Philippine Navy ship fired upon the fishing vessel in seas south of Taiwan.

Quoting the foreign ministry, the CNA report identified the slain fisherman as Hung Shih-cheng, 65, adding the shooting occurred Thursday morning.

It said the Taiwanese boat “Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28” was some 170 nautical miles off the southern coast of Taiwan at the time, and was seriously damaged.

Aside from an apology, Taiwan demanded that the Philippine government identify those responsible and make compensation for the losses.

The CNA report noted there had been past incidents where Taiwanese fishermen operating in the area were arrested and detained by Philippine authorities.

But it said there had been few reports of shooting.

Quoting Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines Raymond Wang, who met with Philippine Coast Guard head Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena, the Philippines found one of its ships shot the Taiwanese fishing boat.

It said the type of vessel deployed by the Philippines and the weapons used were not immediately known.

A separate report on Taipei Times said the vessel was operating at around 164 nautical miles (304 km) southeast of Oluanpi in Pingtung County.

It quoted the Coast Guard as saying a 2,000-ton ship equipped with an automatic cannon and two 50mm machine guns had been dispatched, which arrived at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The vessel was to accompany the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 as it waits for a tow back to port Friday.

The ministry said said it asked Taiwan’s representative office in Manila to express concern over the incident, upon learning of the incident from the Coast Guard Administration.

It also said it instructed the representative to ask the Philippine authorities to probe the death of the Taiwanese man.

Also, the ministry said it has expressed concern over the shooting incident to the Philippines’ deputy representative to Taiwan, Carlo Aquino Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the ministry said it has conveyed its condolences to Hung’s family and offered to provide any necessary assistance.

Other passengers

The CNA report quoted the fishermen’s association in Pingtung, southern Taiwan as saying Hung’s son, son-in-law and an Indonesian fisherman were also on board when the shooting occurred.

Earlier, the ministry said Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration dispatched a vessel to rescue the Taiwanese fishing boat, which suffered engine failure.

It said the boat in distress were under tow on its way back to Taiwan with the help of two other fishing boats and under the escort of a coast guard vessel.  — ELR, GMA News

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