The family of a Taiwanese fisherman shot dead by Philippine Coast Guard personnel is willing to accept an apology extended by the Philippines, the fisherman’s daughter said on Monday amid indications that the three-month spat between the two countries may be coming to an end.
“There has been progress” in the efforts to resolve the dispute, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said late on Monday.
He did not elaborate, saying only that the government would make a public statement in due course.
Lin and Hung Tzu-chien (洪慈綪), the daughter of the 65-year-old fisherman, made the comments as the fishing boat set out to sea for the first time since the May 9 incident.
The Kuang Ta-hsing No. 28 will fish for a week in waters off Taiwan’s southeastern coast, skipper Hung Yu-chih (洪育智) said, before waving goodbye to his mother, the widow of Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成), the fisherman from Pingtung County who was killed while operating in the overlapping economic zones of Taiwan and the Philippines.
Work to repair the damage sustained when the boat was sprayed with bullets by a Philippine Coast Guard vessel was completed on July 30, Hung Yu-chih said.
The skipper’s sister, Hung Tzu-chien (洪慈綪), expressed a willingness to accept an apology because she said the Hung family has felt the sincerity of the Philippine government. The date of an apology has yet to be determined, but the family wants it to take place in Siaoliouciou (小琉球), where the Hung residence is located, she said.
It is her family’s wish that a representative of a certain level carry a document on behalf of the Philippine president or the Manila government when extending the apology, she said.
As for compensation for the family’s loss, she said details are still being worked out by lawyers.
An apology and compensation are part of the demands made by the government after the incident, which has caused tensions between the two countries to rise to the highest level in years. Other demands include punishment of those responsible for the death of the fisherman and bilateral fishery talks to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Pending the result of an investigation and the positive response expected by the government, Taiwan suspended the import of Philippine workers and most exchange activities between the two nations.