UNLESS Manila responds favorably to its “reasonable requests,” the Taiwanese government will not lift the sanctions it imposed on the Philippines following the shooting of fisherman Hung Shih-cheng by Coast Guard personnel last May.
In a report on Taiwan’s Focus News Channel, President Ma Ying-jeou stood firm on his position that the Philippines should offer a formal apology, compensate the victim’s family, bring to justice the perpetrators and enter into a fisheries agreement with Taipei.
These demands, which he described as “reasonable requests,” are consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) and other relevant international laws.
Taiwan is not a signatory of the 1982 convention since it is not considered a sovereign state.
“We are waiting for a response from the Philippines. If there is a positive response, we definitely will lift the sanctions,” Ma said in the report.
Taiwan on May 15 imposed several retaliatory measures against the Philippines such as suspending the acceptance of Filipino workers, issuing a red travel alert for the Philippines and suspending high-level exchanges between the two countries.
Also halted were bilateral economic exchanges, agricultural and fishery cooperation, technology research exchange and cooperation projects, aviation rights negotiations and visa-free treatment for Filipinos.
The shooting of the 65-year-old Hung by the members of the Philippine Coast Guard happened at the overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Manila and Taipei off Batanes province on May 9.
The Philippines and Taiwan are claimants to the resource-rich West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), which includes the narrow channel between Batanes island and southern Taiwan.
Other claimants are China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam.
Manila and Taiwan have finished their investigations on the incident, but they have yet to release the reports. They also recently started discussing a possible fisheries agreement.