Taiwan, Philippines agree 'parallel' death investigation

Featured South East Asia - May 20th, 2013
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Taipei and Manila have agreed to initiate a joint investigation into the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman who died, sparking a diplomatic row amid tensions over disputed waters.

The Philippines acquiesced to Taiwan’s request for a parallel investigation into the death of Hung Shih-cheng, who was killed after coastguards fired on the Taiwanese fishing boat. The Philippines’ authorities claim the ship was illegally sailing into its waters.

Both sides will conduct fact-finding trips in their respective countries to uncover the truth behind the fatal shooting and will cooperate with each other during their individual investigations, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin said, adding that the agreement was a “positive” step toward resolving the diplomatic spat.

This comes after anti-Philippine protests erupted in Taipei. The government in Manila had urged Filipino workers in the island to stay indoors amid public outrage. At least two Filipinos were reportedly attacked in Taiwan following the melee in the seas.

Taipei imposed sanctions on the Philippines, including the suspension of hiring of new Filipino workers, despite an official apology from Manila. Taiwan said the incident was tantamount to “cold-blooded” murder after investigators found nearly 50 bullet holes on the fishing boat.