TAIPEI-MANILA ROW: US representatives speak out on fisherman’s death

Staff writer, with CNA, WASHINGTON

Mon, May 20, 2013 - Page 2

Two US Republican representatives have spoken out about the recent death of a Taiwanese fisherman shot by personnel aboard a Philippine patrol vessel

US Representative Scott DesJarlais on Friday voiced support for Taiwan’s call for a sincere apology and proper compensation from the Philippines over the death of a fisherman shot by a Philippines government boat on May 9.

In a letter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), DesJarlais expressed regret over the death of Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成), 65, who died during an encounter with a Philippine patrol boat in contested waters.

DesJarlais said Taiwan is fully justified, based on humanitarian grounds, in seeking a prompt and sincere apology as well as suitable compensation from the Philippines.

DesJarlais said the US values its long-time friendship with Taiwan and the Philippines and expressed hope the two can resolve the recent dispute rationally and peacefully.

On May 11, Taiwan issued a 72-hour ultimatum demanding the Philippines issue a formal apology, compensate the victim’s family for their loss, investigate the incident, punish the perpetrators and start fishery agreement talks with Taiwan as soon as possible.

Representative Kerry Bentivolio urged the Philippines to promptly respond to Taiwan’s demands over the shooting incident.

In a letter to Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia, Bentivolio acknowledged the Philippines had responded to a certain degree, but said Taiwan and the Philippines still disagree over several issues including compensation to Hung’s family.

Bentivolio called on the Philippines to formally apologize, thoroughly investigate the incident and properly compensate Hung’s family for their losses, as demanded by Taiwan.

He also urged the Philippines to sign a fishery agreement with Taiwan to prevent similar recurrences, citing as an example a landmark fishery deal Taiwan and Japan signed last month to help resolve disputes over fishing rights.