Wu urges Manila to prosecute coastguardsmen
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo ,The China Post
March 7, 2014, 12:09 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said yesterday that hopefully the Philippines will prosecute the suspects involved in the fatal shooting of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-chen (洪石成) as soon as possible.
The vice president made the comments during a meeting with former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos and members of his delegation at the Presidential Office.
Last year, Hung and his crew were shot at by Philippine coastguardsmen while operating in disputed waters claimed by Taiwan and the Philippines. The shooting led to Hung's death, after which Taiwan-Philippine ties became tense with public protests occurring on both sides. On May 17, the Philippines' National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) stated that the coastguardsmen may have violated their rules of engagement, recommending that homicide charges be filed against the suspects. The NBI further recommended obstruction of justice charges against several coastguard personnel.
Relations between Taiwan and the Philippines have always been friendly, Wu said, adding that Antonio Basilio, the Philippines' de facto ambassador in Taiwan, has made a lot of efforts to bring closure to the 2013 Guang Da Xing No. 28 Incident (廣大興28號事件).
The R.O.C. Government still wishes to see the Philippines fulfill its promise and prosecute the suspects involved in the shooting, Wu said.
The administration doesn't wish to see the incident affect the close ties between the two sides, the vice president said, adding that closure to the case would help ensure the continuation and strengthening of the two countries' friendship.
Highlighting the friendship between the countries, the vice president said that the R.O.C. was quick to provide aid to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in spite of the Guang Da Xing No. 28 Incident.
Ramos said that he will urge the Philippines to bring closure to the case.
Wu said that overseas Filipino workers have contributed greatly to the development of Taiwan's industries, and that Taiwan and the Philippines have signed 22 agreements and memoranda of understanding that cover tourism, labor affairs, education, agriculture and other areas.
Bilateral trade between the two sides reached US$12 billion last year, and Taiwan is the Philippines' six largest trading partner and ninth largest export market, the vice president said.
Ahead of Ramos' 86th birthday on March 18, Wu wished the former Philippine president good health, adding that Ramos is a wise leader well-loved by the people of the Philippines.