Philippines defers comment on Taiwan fisher attack

Updated: 2013-05-14 19:56


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MANILA - Philippine Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Tuesday his country would rather defer any comment on response to Taiwan's demand on the attack of a Taiwan fishing vessel on May 9.

"Insofar as any response that we are going to issue, our position is that we would rather defer any comment,"  Lacierda said in a news briefing at Malacanang, the presidential palace.

"If there will be a response, it will be handled through the proper channels and not through media," he added.

He said that President Aquino had already instructed the investigation to take place. The investigation result will be announced at the proper time.

"We assure you that the President had been briefed about the incident in the Balintang channel," he said.

Talking about the possible negative impact on relations between the Philippines and Taiwan region, Lacierda said, the Philippines values the people to people exchange with Taiwan, and would like to avoid a situation that will exacerbate relationship between the two sides.

"We will handle this on a calm basis and we will transmit our response through the proper channels," he said.

The shooting incident happened on May 9 at a sea area 164 nautical miles southeast of the southernmost tip of Taiwan, when Philippine Coast Guard shot dead a Taiwanese fisherman, named Hung Shih-Cheng, 65. Moreover, the Philippine ship chased the fishing vessel for about one hour, even when the attacked fishing vessel was fleeing at full speed.  

Taiwan's leader Ma Ying-jeou demanded the Philippines to apologize, clarify the truth and punish people held responsible, offer compensation for the death and the damage to the fishing boat within 72 hours, which will terminate on Tuesday midnight.