US urges quick completion of shooting investigations

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in Washington

Wed, May 22, 2013 - Page 3

The US is calling on both Taiwan and the Philippines to quickly complete their separate investigations into the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman.

“We have not seen final reports from either investigation, from either side,” US Department of State spokesman Patrick Ventrell said on Monday.

“We hope these will be released soon and will help clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident,” he said.

Speaking at a daily press briefing, Ventrell said that although US Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Yun was going to the region he would not become directly involved in any negotiations involving the incident.

“We think the Philippines and Taiwan must work together to resolve this unfortunate and difficult situation,” Ventrell said. “We’ve urged both Taiwan and the Philippines to exercise restraint, address the events of last week and take steps to minimize the likelihood of future confrontations.”

Despite encouragement from Taiwanese journalists, Ventrell refused to call for a joint Taiwan-Philippines probe.

“We welcome the Philippines pledge to conduct a thorough and expeditious investigation,” he said.

“We note that the Philippine president appointed a personal representative to Taiwan to convey his deep regret and apology to the family of the fisherman and the people of Taiwan,” Ventrell said.

Asked directly if he would welcome the Philippines and Taiwan conducting the investigation together, Ventrell said the US understood that both sides were doing separate investigations.

Pressed again to say if Washington wanted them to conduct a joint investigation, Ventrell said that it did not appear that was happening.

“We want them to work together to resolve this issue, this unfortunate and difficult situation,” he said.