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China condemns fisherman's death

By An Baijie ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-05-11 08:33:20

 China condemns fisherman's death

An undated handout photo released on Friday by the Liuqiu fishing committee in Taiwan's Pingtung county, shows the Guang Ta Hsin 28 fishing vessel at a harbor in Liuqiu. Provided by Agence France-Presse

China condemns fisherman's death

Philippine military vessel fired on unarmed fishing boat from Taiwan

China strongly condemned the Philippines' "barbaric" fatal shooting of a 65-year-old fisherman from Taiwan on Thursday, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Friday.

"We strongly urge again that the Philippines investigate the case immediately and handle the issue properly. We will keep a close watch on the development of the incident," said Hua Chunying, spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a daily news conference.

China expressed deep concern over the Philippines' repeated attacks against unarmed fishermen, Hua said.

"We wish to express deep grief over the death of the Taiwan fisherman and give condolences to the victim's family," Hua said.

Responding to a Philippine news report stating that some Chinese vessels were spotted near Ren'ai Jiao, Hua said China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters.

The shooting occurred at about 10 am on Thursday in an area about 160 nautical miles southeast of the southernmost tip of the island of Taiwan, according to Taiwan's coast guard authority.

The victim was identified as 65-year-old Hung Shih-cheng. Four seamen were on the boat, the Guang Ta Hsin 28. The other three - the victim's son, his son-in-law and an Indonesian fisherman -were all injured, the Beijing Times reported.

The Philippine vessel fired nearly 40 shots at the fishing boat.

After killing the fisherman, the Philippine armed vessel continued to chase and fire at the fishing boat for another hour and a half, according to reports carried by Taiwan media outlets.

'Fired warning shots'?

The Philippine Coast Guard on Friday admitted killing a fisherman from Taiwan, but it claimed that its personnel fired warning shots in self-defense.

In a statement issued at a news conference, the Philippine coast guard said that the Taiwan fishing boat repeatedly tried to ram the armed Filipino ship.

Antonio Basilio, the Philippines' representative to Taiwan, apologized on Friday for the death of the fisherman.

"We would like to convey our sincere condolences and apologies to the family of Mr Hung," he told reporters on Friday after talking with local authorities.

The personnel on the Philippine armed ship will be relieved during the investigation, he said.

Yang Yi, spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said on Thursday night that it was "barbaric" for the Filipino military to shoot the fisherman from Taiwan.

China strongly condemned the fatal attack and demanded that the Philippines investigate the incident thoroughly and quickly, he said.

"We are in deep mourning over the fisherman's death and express our condolence to the victim's family," he said.

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou on Friday demanded an apology and compensation from the Philippines. He also urged the Philippines to investigate the incident and arrest those responsible.

Xu Liping, a researcher from the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that it was the most serious provocation from the Philippines for some time.

"The Philippines often shot at China's unarmed fishermen in the past, but this case is the most serious one within recent years," he said.

The Philippines' midterm elections will begin on Monday, and it's likely that the government will win elections through such provocations, he said.

The incident also provided an opportunity for the Chinese mainland and Taiwan authorities to cooperate in maintaining maritime interests, he said.

This incident has increased the tension in South China Sea waters, and the relationship between China and the Philippines will also be harmed by the provocation, said Li Guoqiang, deputy director of the Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Philippine authorities have always caused trouble in South China Sea waters, which undermines the peace and stability of the region, Li said.

Zhang Yunbi and Xinhua contributed to this story.

anbaijie@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 05/11/2013 page6)

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