European group to support Taiwan on death of fisherman

Staff writer, with CNA, BRUSSELS

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 - Page 3

A European parliament delegation is to visit Taiwan later this month to show support for Taipei’s demands over the fatal shooting of a local fisherman by a Philippine government vessel on May 9.

Ryszard Legutko, a Polish politician and deputy chairman of the Conservatives and Reformists Group, will lead four other members of the parliament to Taiwan to hand over a letter of support to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), conveying their condolences for the death of 65-year-old Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成), according to the Taipei Representative Office to the EU.

The letter, signed by Tomasz Poreba, Suzy de Martini, Ryszard Czarnecki and Marek Grobarczyk, who will be accompanying Legutko, also criticizes the Philippine officials for not providing humanitarian assistance to Hung and the other fishermen on the boat after they had sprayed the vessel with bullets, the representative office said.

The delegation urged the Philippine government to conduct a thorough investigation, sign a fisheries agreement with Taiwan and establish rules for the two sides that will guide their conduct when vessels are operating in their overlapping economic zones, the office said.

The incident has triggered a diplomatic row and led Taiwan to impose sanctions on the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Ivo Vajgl, another member of the European parliament, wrote to Catherine Ashton, the high representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to express his concerns over the incident.

“The use of lethal force against an unarmed fishing boat goes against international law, and this act by the Philippine authorities cannot be justified,” the Slovenian lawmaker said in a letter dated May 23. He also sent a copy of the letter to the Philippine ambassador to Belgium, Victoria Bataclan.