Thu, May 16, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Sanctions on Philippines beefed up as row escalates

NOT ENOUGH:The government implemented eight further sanctions as its deadline passed and described an apology by the Philippine president as ‘unacceptable’

By Mo Yan-chih and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters, with agencies

Jiang said Taiwan recalled representative to the Philippines Raymond Wang (王樂生) to Taipei last night and the Philippines representative to Taiwan, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Managing Director Antonio Basillio, has been told to leave Taiwan today.

Coast Guard Administration Minister Wang Jinn-wang (王進旺) said his agency has been patrolling the overlapping economic zones to protect the rights and safety of Taiwanese fishermen and the patrols would continue.

Following a national security meeting held on Saturday to discuss implementing sanctions against the Philippines, Ma held a second meeting yesterday morning following the return of Basilio with messages from Manila on Tuesday night.

Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) said Ma condemned the Philippine government for its lack of sincerity in meeting the Taiwanese government’s demands by the deadline and instructed the Cabinet to implement the additional sanctions immediately.

“The Philippine government did not grant full authorization [to its envoy], it lacks sincerity and shows a wayward stance in its handling of the incident. President Ma is strongly dissatisfied with its reckless and perfunctory response,” Lee said.

Separately yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected a request for a meeting from MECO Chairman Amadeo Perez, who arrived in Taiwan at about 1pm.

At 2:45pm, ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) told a press conference that Lin had refused to meet with Perez because the ministry has confirmed that “upon Perez’s arrival in Taiwan,” he did not have the “proper authorization” from Aquino.

After the press conference, Malacanang Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda told a press conference in Manila that Aquino was sending his “personal representative” to Taipei with a letter of apology.

The representative “will convey his and the Philippine people’s deep regret and apologize to the family of [Hung Shih-cheng], as well as to the people of Taiwan, over the unfortunate and unintended loss of life.”

At the press conference, Lacierda urged Taiwan not to implement its threatened sanctions and to reverse its decision to ban the hiring of Philippine workers.

“We appeal to the people of Taiwan not to involve our nationals there,” Lacierda said. “We appeal for calm. We appeal for sobriety.”

Lacierda said Perez was scheduled to meet the victim’s family today. However, earlier yesterday, Hung’s family in Siaoliouciou (小琉球), Pingtung County, said that they would not welcome a visit from Perez because the Philippine government has declined to offer them a formal apology.

Hung Tzu-ching (洪慈綪), the eldest daughter, said her family were indignant at the Philippines after watching the joint press conference in the early hours of yesterday morning on TV because Basilio has declined to apologize.

She said they would shut the door if Perez visited them.

Perez traveled to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 5:50pm yesterday and Benjamin Ho (何登煌), director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, met with him for 40 minutes to check the documents he had brought from Manila to determine whether he was properly authorized by Aquino.

Before Perez left the ministry, he told reporters that he was a “personal representative” of Aquino, who has directed him to extend “our heartfelt apologies to the family of the fisherman … and to apologize to the people of Taiwan for this unfortunate incident.”

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